Bunuel, Luis: Three Films By (BLU-RAY)

Bunuel, Luis: Three Films By (BLU-RAY)

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More than four decades after he took a razor blade to an eyeball and shocked the world with Un chien andalou, arch-iconoclast Luis Buñuel capped his astonishing career with three final provocations—The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty, and That Obscure Object of Desire—in which his renegade, free-associating surrealism reached its audacious, self-detonating endgame. Working with such key collaborators as screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and his own frequent on-screen alter ego Fernando Rey, Buñuel laced his scathing attacks on religion, class pretension, and moral hypocrisy with savage violence to create a trio of subversive, brutally funny masterpieces that explore the absurd randomness of existence. Among the director’s most radical works as well as some of his greatest international triumphs, these films cemented his legacy as cinema’s most incendiary revolutionary.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie:

In Luis Buñuel’s deliciously satiric masterpiece, an upper-middle-class sextet sits down to a dinner that is continually delayed, their attempts to eat thwarted by vaudevillian events both actual and imagined, including terrorist attacks, military maneuvers, and ghostly apparitions. Stringing together a discontinuous, digressive series of absurdist set pieces, Buñuel and his screenwriting partner Jean-Claude Carrière send a cast of European-film greats—including Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyrig, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and Bulle Ogier—through a maze of desire deferred, frustrated, and interrupted. The Oscar-winning pinnacle of Buñuel’s late-career ascent as a feted maestro of the international art house, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is also one of his most gleefully radical assaults on the values of the ruling class.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • The Castaway of Providence Street, a 1971 homage to Luis Buñuel made by his longtime friends and fellow filmmakers Arturo Ripstein and Rafael Castanedo
  • Speaking of Buñuel, a documentary from 2000 on Buñuel’s life and work by José Luis López-Linares and Javier Rioyo
  • Once Upon a Time: “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” a 2011 television program about the making of the film
  • Episode of the French television program Pour le cinéma from 1972 that features behind-the-scenes footage of Buñuel on set, along with interviews with the director and with actors Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Bulle Ogier, Fernando Rey, and Delphine Seyrig
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation

The Phantom of the Liberty:

Luis Buñuel’s vision of the inherent absurdity of human social rituals reaches its taboo-annihilating extreme in what may be his most morally subversive and formally audacious work. Zigzagging across time and space, from the Napoleonic era to the present day, The Phantom of Liberty unfolds as a picaresque, its characters traveling between tableaux in a series of Dadaist non sequiturs. Unbound by the laws of narrative logic, Buñuel lets his surrealist’s id run riot in an exuberant revolt against bourgeois rationality that seems telegraphed directly from his unconscious to the screen.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Interview from 2000 with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Analysis of the film from 2017 by film scholar Peter William Evans
  • Episode of the French television series Pour le cinéma from 1974 featuring actors Michel Piccoli and Jean-Claude Brialy
  • Episode of the French television program Le dernier des cinq from 1974 featuring Brialy
  • Documentary from 1985 about producer Serge Silberman, who worked with Luis Buñuel on five of the director’s final seven films
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation

That Obscure Object of Desire:

Luis Buñuel’s final film brings full circle the director’s lifelong preoccupation with the darker side of desire. Buñuel regular Fernando Rey plays Mathieu, an urbane widower, tortured by his lust for the elusive Conchita. With subversive flair, Buñuel uses two different actors in the latter role—Carole Bouquet, a sophisticated French beauty, and Ángela Molina, a Spanish coquette. Drawn from the surrealist favorite Pierre Louÿs’s classic erotic novel La femme et le pantin (The Woman and the Puppet, 1898), That Obscure Object of Desire is a dizzying game of sexual politics punctuated by a terror that harks back to Buñuel’s avant-garde beginnings.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Interview from 2000 with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Lady Doubles, a 2017 documentary featuring actors Carole Bouquet and Ángela Molina, who share the role of Conchita in That Obscure Object of Desire
  • Portrait of an Impatient Filmmaker, Luis Buñuel, a 2012 documentary featuring director of photography Edmond Richard and assistant director Pierre Lary
  • Excerpts from Jacques de Baroncelli’s 1929 silent film La femme el le pantin, an adaptation of Pierre Louÿs’s 1898 novel of the same name, on which That Obscure Object of Desire is also based
  • Episode of the Belgian television program Le monde du cinema from 1977, featuring Carrière, actor Fernando Rey, and producer Serge Silberman
  • Conversation from 1977 among many of Buñuel’s collaborators, including Carrière, Rey, and actors Julien Bertheau, Muni, and Michel Piccoli
  • Alternate English-dubbed soundtrack
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation