The Discreet Charm of the bourgeoisie

Director: Luis Buñuel

France . 1972 . 101mins

Most subversive artists cool down once they reach their autumn years, but not Luis Buñuel. The Spanish director was 72 when he made this scabrous satire on the mores of the upper-middle class, and the filmmaker’s piss-and-vinegar level was at an all-time high. Its comestibilis interruptus set pieces attest that Buñuel’s lifelong love affair with the absurd certainly hadn’t dimmed: Meals are stifled by hosts scurrying out for quickies in the garden, by a corpse in a restaurant or by gangsters busting down the front door with tommy guns in tow. And his hatred of authority was still in full bloom, with bishops (stock figures for Buñuel’s mockery), politicians and the military all getting their turns on the roasting spit.

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