Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Belle de Jour

I recently finally got around to watching Luis Buñuel's haunting 1967 film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve. Spaniard Luis's Surrealist sensibilities are certainly evident in the film, with it's dream sequences and eery soundtrack (one of the most famous Surrealist films of all time is his Un Chien Andalou, & his unsettling The Exterminating Angel haunted me for a long time afterward!) Belle de Jour tells the tale of Séverin, a frigid housewife married to the stereotypical ideal man, yet remains distant and unhappy. She then decides to take on a job in a brothel during the afternoons - as you do! Deneuve was dressed by Yves Saint Laurent (below) and the clothes play as much of a part as the actors and the narrative.
Deneuve's Séverin is a cool Hitchcockian blonde, a 'buttoned-up' housewife - literally - in a series of double-breasted coats, long coat dresses and cardies buttoned up to the neck, matched with sensible YSL -designed Roger Viviers 'Pligrim' pumps. "Catherine Deneuve and Yves Saint Laurent did more than create the most scandalous, erotic film of the day. Belle de Jour gave a double life to luxury clothes so powerful that designers have been fantasizing about it ever since." New York Times. The movie inspired me to go out and buy a classic trench! (leopard print lining, of course). Do check it out - my version was unfortunately dubbed over with cheesy somewhat mismatched English. I'd go for the original French sub-titled version.

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