Film series continues with Belle de Jour

Severine Serizy, a beautiful doctor’s wife, dreams of one thing: having her husband and his sleazy friend throwing dung on her. Only during these escapist fantasies does she break her stolid discontent and reveal a smile. This is just one of the Scrubs-esque dream sequences Severine has during Belle de Jour. She can only derive happiness from degradation and abandonment of reality.

Luis Bunuel’s Belle de Jour is an adaptation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary set in 1960s France. Other Bunuel films shown earlier in the series include The Exterminating Angel and Viridiana. A Bunuel short “Un Chien Andalou,” will be shown the last Tuesday of October.

Belle de Jour is about a disaffected housewife who enters into prostitution out of boredom. The more exciting Severine’s life becomes the more her tepidity towards Pierre, her husband, warms.

She begins working for a high-class prostitution ring (Emperors Club VIP, anyone) for women who hook by choice rather than necessity. One of her co-workers mentions that the job supports a luxurious lifestyle rather than basic necessity. Even better: she has her invalid husband’s full support.

Not surprisingly, one of her jealous lovers becomes obsessed and crashes into her home life. Her interweaving of fantasy and reality begins to unravel.

The conclusion is a unique blending of images and sounds from her domestic life with her fantastical life as a prostitute.

Severine hears the repetitive ticking of the clock and the jingling bells of an old client. The dividing lines between fact and fiction are no more when ‘Fin’ fades into the screen.

Bunuel uses this movie, like many of his others, to poke fun at aristocracy and the bourgeois. Severine’s wealthy liaisons possess aberrations from the death obsessed, the masochistic to the excessively epicurean. The movie is similar to Madame Bovary with its harmfully quixotic heroine. Bunuel deviates from Flaubert by letting Severine get away consequence-free.

Catherine Deneuve, about 24 when she starred, played Severine. She was perfectly seductive and chilling in her role, which earned her a Best Actress nomination from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

Jean Sorel played opposite her, as Severine’s husband. His Ken-dollish good looks are reminiscent of Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) or any soap opera star, really.

Dr. Pease will be showing tonight at 3:30 and 7 p.m. the Chinese film, The Road Home. The 2000 movie directed by Yimou Zhang (Hero), stars Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon).

The film series is continuing every Tuesday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. in the Evans Complex room 105. This weekly event is a bastion of culture and entertainment at Sam Houston. It is a vital part of our university and those who attend are better educated when they leave.

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