Belle de jour
- 1 hr 41 min
Luis Bunuel's 1967 film Belle de Jour tells the story of a beautiful housewife named Severine Serizy, played by Catherine Deneuve, who secretly works at a high-class brothel during the day. Madame Anais (Genevieve Page), who runs the establishment, names her Belle de Jour, the French name for a lily which only blooms during the day. It's also a pun on belle de nuit, which is a lady of the night. Through her double life, Severine gets to live out the deviant sexual fantasies that have caused a rift in the physical relationship between her and her husband, Pierre (Jean Sorel), a handsome doctor. As she sinks deeper into the world of the brothel, Severine is tormented by her husband's seedy friend, Henri Husson (Michel Piccoli), who makes advances on her, and her demanding gangster client, Marcel (Pierre Clementi). Both men threaten to tell the unsuspecting Pierre that his wife is a prostitute. The film alternates between reality and Severine's fantasies of bondage and sadomasochism. Despite its explicit themes, the film contains no actual sex scenes. But as the story descends towards its dark climax, Bunel explores the relationship between sex and violence and the underworld lurking beneath the streets of Paris and the wealthy who live there. Belle de Jour won the Golden Lion for best film at the 1967 Venice Film Festival, as well as the 1968 Bodil Award for Best European Film, and the 1968 French Syndicate of Cinema Critics Award. Based on Joseph Kessel's 1928 novel of the same name, much of it was shot on the Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris. It was distributed by Robert et Raymond Hakim and Paris Film Productions. Yves Saint Laurent designed a portion of Deneuve's costumes, and the musical score was composed by Michel Magne.