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FILM: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Speaking to the New York Times in 1972 – the year of its release – the film’s director Luis Buñuel said the notion of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie was that “some people want to take dinner together; they cannot; and why not?”

Revisiting the film on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the central premise of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie still remains exactly as described by the master of cinematic Surrealism – six affluent Parisians repeatedly trying to sit down together for a meal, but through what becomes a series of increasingly bizarre events, both real and imagined and including their finding the corpse of the restaurant owner in an adjoining room, a terrorist attack, and the unsolicited intervention of a marijuana-smoking military unit out on manoeuvres, the sextet’s best efforts are continually thwarted.

From this simple plot device of frustrated fulfilment Luis Buñuel and his screenwriter and regular collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière take an ironic, subtly comedic, and often cynical exploration of the wider issues of middle-class manners and mores, social convention, human desire, adultery, drug dealing, wealth, avarice, power, a military coup, and murder. It all makes for an international art house classic.

Written at the time of the Vietnam War and the then heightened fears about the threat of communism, the film retains an unsettling relevance today particularly when seen through the prism of recent events in Russia and that country’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Winner of the Oscar Award for the Best Foreign-Language Film, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie was also nominated for Best Screenplay (Original) by Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière, it is now the subject of a stunning 4K restoration. This restored version is produced from the 35mm original negative and sound negative. During this process any imperfections that were previously present were erased; scratches, physical deteriorations, and dust were all removed, frame by frame

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie will be available to own on 4K UHD for the very first time, as well as on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital from 20th June 2022, complete with brand-new bonus material.

The new 4k restoration of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie will also screen in selected cinemas from June; please check local cinema listings for details.

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