Close Up

12 - 27 February 2019: That Obscure Object of Desire


That Obscure Object of Desire
Luis Buñuel, 1977, 102 min
French with English subtitles

"Throughout Buñuel’s final tour de force, everyone pleads for an explanation for the inexplicable, and the entire story unfolds as an explanation for a simple, yet incongruous act. Buñuel’s standard selection for the urbane gentleman, Fernando Rey – dubbed in French by another Buñuel regular Michel Piccoli – plays a man obsessed with the unpredictable and elusive Conchita. Likewise, she is played by two actresses – Carole Bouquet capturing a coy French elegance and Ángela Molina exposing voluptuous Spanish turbulence. Conchita – like Buñuelian cinema – may resort to traditional courtship techniques, yet she can never be merely depicted much less consumed. She forbids Mathieu to completely possess her and he will not marry her, thus their torturous alliance reaches vindictive, debasing levels. Mounting terrorist violence underscores and expands the relationship between sex, violence and politics to include all of us in a comically maddening cycle of animal instincts erupting beneath the trappings of civilization." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Luis Buñuel