Belle De Jour. 1967. Directed by Luis Bunuel starring Catherine Deneuve.
Quick Note: Yes, two of my three movie reviews now have been about the subject of women turning to prostitution. I choose to look at this as an oddity based on my Netflix queue and nothing more.
In the words of Woody Allen, “the heart wants what the heart wants”. The same sentiment can be applied to Belle’s protagonist, frigid housewife Severine, whose sexual liberation through prostitution, domination and sadomasochism (oh my) is presented more as a choice of heart rather than a product of any destitute situation (the usual go to for “girl turns to prostitution” storylines).Handled more as an observation of a bored housewife’s spiral into a fetishistic lifestyle, Belle’s charm lies in its ability to not condemn Severine’s choices but to let her frolic in them.
As Bunuel would say in his autobiography, the film allowed him the chance to “ translate fantasies into pictorial images as well as to draw a serious portrait of a young female bourgeois masochist.”
It's definitely worth a screening for Bunuel's overhanded portrayals of fetishistic acts as well as a showcase for Deneuve's iconic beauty.