7.8/10
32,647
117 user 135 critic

Belle de Jour (1967)

Belle de jour (original title)
R | | Drama | 10 April 1968 (USA)
A frigid young housewife decides to spend her midweek afternoons as a prostitute.

Director:

(as Luis Bunuel)

Writers:

(novel) (as Joseph Kessel de l'Académie Française), (adaptation) (as Luis Bunuel) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
2,347 ( 2,496)

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Paul Frankeur
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Recounted in flashback are the romantic perils of Mathieu, a middle-aged French sophisticate as he falls for his nineteen year-old former chambermaid Conchita.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Fernando Rey, Carole Bouquet, Ángela Molina
Viridiana (1961)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Viridiana, a young nun about to take her final vows, pays a visit to her widowed uncle at the request of her Mother Superior.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The guests at an upper-class dinner party find themselves unable to leave.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Silvia Pinal, Jacqueline Andere, Enrique Rambal
Tristana (1970)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Shortly after her mother's death, an innocent and youthful woman will find refuge into the household of her middle-aged aristocratic guardian, who will submit her to his sexual advances.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Fernando Rey, Franco Nero
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

This surrealist film consists of a series of only vaguely related episodes, most famously the dinner party scene in which people sit on lavatories round a dinner table, occasionally ... See full summary »

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Jean-Claude Brialy, Adolfo Celi, Michel Piccoli
The Milky Way (1969)
Certificate: M Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two drifters go on a pilgrimage from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Along the way, they hitchhike, beg for food, and face the Christian dogmas and heresies from different Ages.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Paul Frankeur, Laurent Terzieff, Alain Cuny
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Celestine, the chambermaid, has new job on the country. The Monteils, who she works for are a group of strange people. The wife is frigid, her husband is always hunting (both animals and ... See full summary »

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Georges Géret, Michel Piccoli
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A group of juvenile delinquents live a violent and crime-filled life in the festering slums of Mexico City, and the morals of young Pedro are gradually corrupted and destroyed by the others...

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Alfonso Mejía, Roberto Cobo, Estela Inda
Short | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí present seventeen minutes of bizarre, surreal imagery.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Pierre Batcheff, Simone Mareuil, Luis Buñuel
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Simon, a deeply religious man living in the 4th century, wants to be nearer to God so he climbs a column. The Devil wants him come down to Earth and is trying to seduce him.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Claudio Brook, Silvia Pinal, Enrique Álvarez Félix
L'Age d'Or (1930)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A surrealist tale of a man and a woman passionately in love with one another, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society.

Director: Luis Buñuel
Stars: Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Caridad de Laberdesque
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Marcel (as Pierre Clementi)
...
...
Renee (as Macha Meril)
Muni ...
...
Claude Cerval
Michel Charrel ...
Footman
Iska Khan ...
Bernard Musson ...
Majordomo
Marcel Charvey ...
François Maistre ...
L'ensignant
Edit

Storyline

Severine is a beautiful young woman married to a doctor. She loves her husband dearly, but cannot bring herself to be physically intimate with him. She indulges instead in vivid, kinky, erotic fantasies to entertain her sexual desires. Eventually she becomes a prostitute, working in a brothel in the afternoons while remaining chaste in her marriage. Written by James Meek <james@oz.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Luis Bunuel's Masterpiece of Erotica!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

10 April 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belle de Jour  »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$4,037,017, 31 December 1995
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Following its initial release, the film wasn't seen again for many years due to some rights issues with the Hakim brothers' estate. The absence of the film from circulation--including home video--for so long only helped build up its mystique for a new generation who had not yet seen it. See more »

Goofs

When Severine goes to Duke's house to participate in a ceremony she is wearing a brown coat. When Majordomo kicks her out in the street later, he throws her completely different black cloak. See more »

Quotes

Marcel: I don't get it. You seem to like being with me.
Séverine Serizy: Very much, but it's not enough.
Marcel: You love the other guy?
[Séverine nods her head yes]
Marcel: Then why are you here?
Séverine Serizy: I don't know. They're two different things.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Hunger (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A unique mystery box
29 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

Séverine (Catherine Deneuve) is a bored, affluent housewife. We meet her first when she is forced to dismount from a carriage. Her husband Pierre ties her to a tree, whips her, then leaves her to be raped by the two carriage drivers.

Séverine is prone to fantasies. She is in a conventional marriage. Pierre is a handsome young surgeon. They sleep in separate beds. An older friend, Henri, keeps hitting on her, but she tells him to keep his compliments for himself. He is attracted by her blonde perfection, her virtue and her icy disdain.

Taking fantasy a stage further, Séverine gets a daytime job at a high class brothel. At first she is prudish and wants to pick her clients. Then she is shown 'a firm hand' - which the masochistic side of her nature relishes.

Re-released almost forty years after its original cinema exhibition, Belle de Jour still has the power to shock. Not through explicit nudity (it is a highly erotic work without being titillating) but by the shocking images, and the superb performances that contrast the aloofness of the bourgeoisie to the practicality of sex, of elegance to depravity. Scenes of Séverine having mud thrown at her stick in the mind no less than the tentativeness with which she approaches the brothel for the first time, dressed in black, and ready to take flight at any moment. Couture by Yves Saint Laurent and lush photography drown us in luxurious chic. The stylish settings arouse our aesthetic senses, and the languorous pacing and emotional complexity keep us trying to figure it all out long before we realise just how difficult that is going to be.

Analysing it in Freudian or purely sexual terms is less than satisfying. The characters are convincing - the posh conservative elite, the matter-of-fact but certainly not coarse madame, the pervs who visit the brothel, and the psychologically conflicted Séverine through them all. It is hardly a plea for sexual liberation - the men, even one that Séverine takes a fancy to, are pretty lowlife. Their strange fantasy requirements mete out the most fascinating tableau of perversions but even more fascinating is what we don't see: such as what is in the box brought by the Chinaman. We are forced to identify with Séverine - she is the most normal character - and yet the most convincing way to approach the film is one suggested by Buñuel himself, as a parable attacking the decadence of the bourgeoisie.

On a more elevated level, it is a forceful artistic statement that viewers addicted to linear storytelling may find hard to accept. It seems to anticipate Eyes Wide Shut in its treatment of hidden sexuality, but cinematically it is more linked to the surreal Mulholland Drive. Buñuel's friend from University and at one point collaborator, Salvador Dali, could be similarly perplexing when it came to alternate realities. He said, "People love mystery, and that is why they love my paintings." The mind is drawn to interpret a piece of art in a specific concrete way, but the artist may wish to express a concept that transcends specific examples. In Belle de Jour, Buñuel claims that there are not two endings, just one ambiguous ending. When you have finished watching the film it is not hard to decide which scenes are reality and which are fantasy, but when you run it through your mind again it is equally possible to make alterations. Do we want to know what is in the box, or do we love the mystery?

The name Belle de Jour can be read as a pun on 'lady of the night', since Séverine only worked in the day; everything becomes plain. This is maybe why it becomes her as her name at the brothel. But enter Séverine's feverish imagination and you might see something else.


36 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 117 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page