BELLE DE JOUR
1967, Janus Films, 101 min, France, Dir: Luis Buñuel

Housewife and glacial beauty Séverine (Catherine Deneuve), frigid at home with her doctor husband, indulges in private erotic fantasies that range from sadomasochistic to scatological. To realize her innermost sexual proclivities, Séverine becomes a prostitute at a local brothel, working only on weekday afternoons and taking on the moniker Belle de Jour. Forty-five years after its initial release, Luis Buñuel’s subversive mega-classic is as boundary-pushing as ever, its deft mix of edge and lightness underscored by Deneuve’s nimbly cool performance. In French with English subtitles.


THE LAST METRO
LE DERNIER METRO
1980, Janus Films, 131 min, France, Dir: Francois Truffaut

During the German occupation of Paris, a theater company struggles to produce a new play while its director is forced to hide in the basement, leaving his wife (Catherine Deneuve) to carry on an affair with the new leading man (Gerard Depardieu). This meditation on the ultimate powerlessness of the artist is surprisingly charming given its heavy subject matter, and Deneuve is as elegant and compelling as ever. In French with English subtitles.


REPULSION
1965, Sony Repertory, 104 min, Dir: Roman Polanski

Director Roman Polanski’s second film was his first shot in English and certifiable proof that he was the new wunderkind of the psychological suspense thriller, favoring a warped psychology and metaphysical anguish, as well as dark Bunuelian humor. Here, beautician Catherine Deneuve, pathologically revolted by men, goes off the deep end when her loving but worldly sister (Yvonne Furneaux) leaves for the weekend with her boyfriend (Ian Hendry). The men that interact with Deneuve over the ensuing hours - smitten young John Fraser and lecherous landlord Patrick Wymark - don’t have any idea what they’re in for. Still retains an astonishing wallop and remains one of Polanski’s most intense portraits of irrational fears triumphing in a climax of abject terror.


Syndicate content