June 8, 2007
Studio: New Yorker Films
Director: Manoel de Oliveira
MPAA Rating: N/A
Screenwriter: Manoel de Oliveira
Starring: Michel Piccoli, Bulle Ogier
Copyright Holder: N/A
"Belle Toujours," an homage to the Luís Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière 1967 classic "Belle de Jour." Picking up thirty-eight years from where Buñuel's erotic masterpiece left off, Michel Piccoli returns in Oliveira's "Belle Toujours" as Henri Husson - older and wiser, but still every bit the sadist libertine who in the original both lusted after and callously taunted Catherine Deneuve's "Belle" to the very end. What exactly did Husson whisper into the ear of Séverine's (Belle's) paraplegic husband? In Buñuel's film, which brilliantly mixes fantasy and reality, Deneuve's Séverine is the frigid bourgeois wife of a Parisian surgeon whom she loves deeply, but who could never satisfy her masochistic desires. In an attempt to live out her sexual fantasies, Séverine betrays her unknowing husband and accepts a day job at an exclusive brothel. Adopting the moniker "Belle de jour," she begins fulfilling her wildest dreams, never letting on to her loving husband Pierre, but soon found out by family "friend" Henri Husson (Piccoli). When Séverine refuses to sleep with Husson during his unexpected visit to the brothel, he acrimoniously threatens to reveal Séverine¹s secret to her husband. But tragedy strikes when Pierre is shot by one of Séverine's jealous clients. Left mute and paralytic, Pierre takes a visit from Husson, but what Husson tells Pierre in their moment together is a secret that Buñuel doesn¹t share and through which Séverine is left to suffer.