That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)
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Adapted from Pierre Louys' 1898 novel La Femme et le Pantin, That Obscure Object of Desire is the 30th and final film from the great Luis Buñuel. Recounted in flashback to a group of railway travellers, the story wryly details the romantic perils of Mathieu (Buñuel favorite Fernando Rey), a wealthy, middle-aged French sophisticate who falls desperately in love with his 19-year-old former chambermaid Conchita. Thus begins a surreal game of sexual cat-and-mouse, with Mathieu obsessively attempting to win the girl's affections as she manipulates his carnal desires, each vying to gain absolute control of the other. Brimming with the subversive wit which characterizes all of Buñuel's finest work, That Obscure Object of Desire takes satiric aim at a decadent, decaying society riddled by political unrest and moral bankruptcy. The picture is absurdist even in its casting -- Rey's dialogue was dubbed by the French actor Michel Piccoli, while the two-faced, hot-and-cold Conchita is played, logically enough, by two different actresses (Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina, respectively), with the character's dialogue spoken by yet a third performer. The same Louys novel was also filmed by Josef von Sternberg in 1935 as the Marlene Dietrich vehicle The Devil Is a Woman, and again in 1959 as Julien Duvivier's La Femme et le Pantin, starring Brigitte Bardot. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for That Obscure Object of Desire
With an effortlessness matched by no other director today, Buñuel creates a vision of a world as logical as a theorem, as mysterious as a dream, and as funny as a vaudeville gag.
One of the director's later works, That Obscure Object of Desire, examines the puzzle of sexual politics.
A mature commentary on the invisible line between passion and absurdity -- erotic, political, and religious.
Bunuel's swan song, his 30th feature, is one of his finest, a surreal fable that's inventive with its double casting.
Buñuel finenesses the unrequited love between his characters with such a command of cinematic spontaneity and humanity that you could watch it a hundred times. Genius.
Buñuel made often perverse, always subversive films that drew protests, bans and undying appreciation from colleagues.
That Obscure Object of Desire is an intoxicating descent into one man's experience of the emotional terrorism intended to shake him from his ways.
In the second rank of Bunuelian delights.
From Un Chien Andalou to That Obscure Object of Desire, Luis Buñuel spent almost 50 years cataloging the frustrated romantic desires of his characters.
This straightforward tale of obsessive love is colored with the always amazing Bunuelian touches.
It may not be Luis Bunuel's best film, but this is probably his most complete statement on sexual relations and the dark side of desire.
Buñuel's pot shots in That Object of Desire are well-planned provocative scenarios that show just how difficult it is to understand sexual desires.
Like all of Buñuel's films, it illuminates the diversity of desire and human nature.
like many of Buñuel's works, a perversely funny film, especially in the way he undercuts conventional notions of both romance and cinema
At age 77, Buñuel had not dimmed this playful fury, as shown by his last film, one of his masterpieces.
Audience Reviews for That Obscure Object of Desire
A rich old man (Fernando Rey) courts 18-year old Conchita (who, with no explanation, is played by two different actresses) over the years, but she seems to be toying with him, and he never achieves the object of his desire. In Bunuel's previous THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE (1972) the attendees at a dinner party could never eat because of continual interruptions; in this droll comedy, Rey can never... you know.More
Now this is a lot of fun. Luis Bunuel's final film, "That Obscure Object of Desire" charts the relevant yet rocky terrain of passion vs. obsession and love vs. absurdity. Bunuel does some really intriguing things with casting, cross cutting stories and the actors have fun with their wacky and juxtapositional dialogue. I love movies about 'emotional terrorism' and this is one of the earlier films to probe the theme. It's funny, timely (even though it was released in 1977) and intriguing.More
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