The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Bunuel, 1972)

Monica Partridge A03
Thursday 25th May 2023 (16:00-18:30)
This painfully funny satire of the tastes, values and prejudices of the upper-middle-class represents the culmination of Luis Bunuel's career as a director of critically renowned, subversive art cinema. Bunuel's films pull no punches, his surrealist style taking precise aim at the ways in which bourgeois values - and the repressive structures that underpin them, from the family to the church - continually prevent people from acting out their deepest desires. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is often suggested to be his most accessible film, but it bears many of the hallmarks of his earlier work: less a story than a series of absurdist set-pieces as a group of pretentious socialites try (and fail) to have dinner together, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie's caustic treatment of the folly, hypocrisy and complacency of the very wealthy resonated with audiences in 1972 that had recently endured the frustrated revolutions of the late 1960s. It is even more relevant today, after decades of widening economic inequality and the emergence of an increasingly bizarre billionaire class who seem to be living on a different plan to the rest of us.

Centre for Research in Visual Culture

University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2RD