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Tony Grist

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Belle de Jour [May. 19th, 2005|10:17 am]
Tony Grist
Belle de Jour is a cool film. Cool in both senses. Very smart, very detached.

I saw it when it first came out. I was in my late teens and it was way too adult for me. I had romantic notions about love and just didn't get the complexity and perversity of the heroine's sexuality.

I have grown into Bunuel's vision of the world. Civilisation is so much frosting.

Catherine Deneuve is the ultimate Hitchcock blonde. Unfortunately she came on the scene too late for Hitch to employ her. I love her stillness.

I wrote a sequence of poems on Spanish subjects a few years back. Here's the one about Bunuel.


Hypocrisy is sometimes merely
Good manners,

Or should we turn that round
And call good manners hypocrisy?

He was, I’ve read, urbane himself,
A typical bourgeois- Drinky-drinks
And a dog at his feet.

My favourite picture
Shows him sighting a hunting rifle
Straight at the camera.

Who do you think
We’re going to meet when we round this corner?
Could it be Fernando Rey
In a nice white suit? “Hola, Fernando.”
Could it be the parish priest
In his broad-brimmed hat? “Good evening, father”
Could it be a yellow dog
With its tongue wag-wagging, dispensing drool?
Pad, pad, pad, not quite a wolf,
But not exactly man’s best friend either.


From: ex_kharin447
2005-05-19 03:30 am (UTC)
I've only seen Un Chien Andalou. I really must see more.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-19 03:39 am (UTC)
Un Chien Andalou is remarkable. It contains the whole of Bunuel in embryo.

But he kept refining his gift.
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[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2005-05-19 04:24 am (UTC)
Funnily enough, I was thinking about Belle du Jour the other day and thinking I must see it again. That film and Bergman's "Persona" I saw right around the same time in an art theatre in the States, as I recall I was still a virgin so of course, I hadn't a real clue about what was really going on, but I liked Belle du Jour much better than Persona. Probably should watch that one again as well, now that I have a few decades and a few men under my belt.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-19 06:58 am (UTC)
Belle de Jour is much more straightforward. Bunuel directs with classic restraint. Persona, on the other hand, is a bag of tricks and I can never decide whether I think it's masterly or pretentious.
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[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2005-05-19 06:59 am (UTC)
Well, I have to see it again, but I rather think that Bergman was being a little pretentious about that time, getting a little TOO full of himself, ya know? His earlier stuff, especially with von Sydow, was really excellent.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-19 07:05 am (UTC)
Persona blew me away when I first saw it- now I'm less impressed. But the scene where Bibi Andersson tells Liv Ullman about her sexual encounter on the beach is, IMHO, the most profoundly erotic thing in world cinema.

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-05-19 06:55 am (UTC)
Remember Hitchcock's Tippi Hedren? She was in The Birds. She was so stiff, I thought, as an actress.

Catherine Deneuve reminds me a little of Gretta Garbo--cold, aloof.

I love her stillness.

I like that way of describing her.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-19 07:03 am (UTC)
Hitch was missing Grace Kelly- who'd gone off to be a princess- and figured, since "actors are cattle", he could knit himself a replacement. The outcome was Hedren.

I don't know the details, but I believe Hitch was very domineering with Hedren and then turned nasty when she developed a mind of her own.

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From: morrison_maiden
2005-05-19 11:41 am (UTC)
I love Belle De Jour. I have such a crush on Catherine Deneuve :♥)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-19 12:03 pm (UTC)
She's lovely, isn't she, And such a good actress. She conveys so much by doing so little.
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From: morrison_maiden
2005-05-19 04:43 pm (UTC)
She is. Another one I loved her in was (I think) called Repulsion. Just her faces and movements could get the feelings across.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-05-20 01:01 am (UTC)
I saw Repulsion ages ago. It's one of the few movies that has genuinely sickened me. Since that was the film-makers' intention, I guess I'm praising it. I remember Deneuve sort of sleep-walking through the action. Yes, she's amazing in it.
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