Eccentric sequel to Luis Buñuel's shocking Belle de jour reunites Henri (Michel Piccoli) and Séverine (Bulle Ogier) after 39 years. Directed by Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
“Thirty-nine years after director Luis Buñuel and scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carrière shocked the pants off the bourgeoisie with Belle de jour (turned down by Cannes for ‘artistic insufficiency’ but awarded the Golden Lion in Venice in 1967), Portuguese master Manoel de Oliveira presents an eccentric ‘sequel’ in Belle toujours… In an elegant concert hall in Paris, Henri (Michel Piccoli) suddenly spies Séverine (Bulle Ogier), whom he hasn’t seen since he walked out the door in the previous film without telling her whether he had divulged her secret life as an afternoon prostitute to her wheelchair-ridden husband… More quirky than kinky, this little parable about how people change over a lifetime – or unwisely refuse to do so – lacks the perverse sex and sadomasochistic fantasies that made Belle de jour the highest grossing film of Buñuel’s illustrious career. On the other hand, Oliveira’s short but sweet rumination on growing old and the fading of sexual desire is not only high-concept, but one of his most watchable.” — Deborah Young, Variety