Sunday, March 25, 2007

Movie Watch! - Belle de Jour

Belle de Jour (1967) - Catherine Deneuve trumps all in this craaaaazy-ass classic French film. I love old French films because most of them are absurdly stylish. I especially love watching depictions of the French bourgeois from the 1950s and 1960s, traipsing about in their hyper-mod Pierre Cardin manteaux de cuir verni and prim little jupes. Deneuve is a marvel in clean A-line coats and swingy wool frocks, all topped off with this movie's most famous fashion contribution, Roger Vivier's signature pilgrim pumps. I can see how this movie has directly influenced some of my favorite designers, most especially Nicolas Ghesquière's mindblowing, life-changing Fall/Winter 2005 collection for Balenciaga. But back to the movie!

I can see how this would've pretty damn controversial in the 1960s. Deneuve plays Séverine Serizy, whose vulgar fantasies and illicit "compensated affairs" as Belle de Jour earn her the ravenous desire of men she has no reason to want back. Pierre Clémenti, as Belle's Latin lover Marcel, looks fiercely modern and stylish. He's slightly exotic and devilishly handsome - without the silver teeth, he could be a doppelganger for Max Minghella. Between Séverine's sexless but loving marriage to her doctor husband and Belle's passionate, erotic rendezvous avec Marcel, she becomes mired in self-doubt and confused to wit's end. I certainly understand. Watch it for a intriguingly desperate woman with a beautiful wardrobe, supported by an arrestingly attractive cast. 8/10

Interesting fact - The painting that hangs in Séverine's marvelous apartment is Picasso's 1912 Glass and Bottle of Suze, which just so happens to be the signature piece in WashU's (aka my school's) art collection.

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