Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square

THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE
(Cet Obscur Objet du Desir)

Year: 1977
Country: France/Spain
Run Time: 100 minutes

THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE

Bunuel began his cinematic career in 1928 when he and fellow Spaniard Salvador Dali scandalized Parisian art circles with their Surrealist movie, "Un Chien Andalou." Steeped in the ideas of Marx and Freud, this famous film was concocted of cruelty, ghoulish humor and deliberately irrational images. The Surrealists delighted in attacking all forms of reason, conscious control and glib patterns of order - including symbolic representations of their work. "Nothing in this film symbolizes anything," Bunuel and Dali perversely proclaimed of their movie. (Which of course doesn't contain any dog, "Andalusian" or otherwise.) 33 films later, at the age of 78, Bunuel is still at work and crazier than ever. Only now he's mellowed a bit. Gone is the savagery of the outraged idealist in such masterpieces as "Los Olvidados" (1950), "Nazarin" (1958) and the brilliantly corrosive "Viridiana" (1961). His latest movie deals with a middle-aged man's sexual obsession with an on-again, off-again young tease named Conchita. Since Conchita is half whore and half madonna, Bunuel chose two women to play the role: A fiery Spanish dancer, Angela Molina, and a cool French actress named Carole Bouquet. The sexual story is placed within a context of urban guerrilla warfare and a weird virus that's blighting the land. Sardonic as ever, Bunuel gives the various terrorist groups such names as the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus and - even more malicious - P.R.I.Q.U.E. He thus manages to fuse three pat satiric targets: religion, sex and politics. The unctuously urbane protagonist, played by Bunuel's favorite actor Fernando Rey, is typically sado-masochistic, compulsive and self-deceived. Though the world around him is collapsing, he can only think of consummating his lust. Bunuel's movies don't lend themselves to easy explication. Suffice to say the Old Master still delights in the hypocrisies that divide male and female, bourgeois and proletarian, age and youth, body and mind. "The final sense of my films," Bunuel once volunteered, "is that we do not live in the best of all possible worlds."

Screenplay
Luis Bunuel with Jean-Claude Carriere (from a novel by Pierre Louys)

Producer
Serge Silberman

Cinematography
Edmond Richard

Editing
Helene Plemiannikov

Principal Cast
Fernando Rey, Carole Bouquet, Angela Molina, Julien Bertheau, Andre Weber, Milena Vukotic, Pieral

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