The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)  Luis Buñuel collaborates with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière to define ‘haute bourgeoisie‘ as the inability to finish a meal without being interrupted. Minor characters recount dreams and memories; the bourgeoisie deal cocaine, commit adultery, and invite terrorism; what’s real all depends on who is dreaming whom. Propriety and its condescending boudoirs are mocked with Spanish savagery.

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As an appatizer, the Ambassador

From Miranda takes aim at a terrorist

On the street outside his embassy

Than tries to seduce her in his chambers.

 

For first course, Champaigne

And cocaine spark a business lunch,

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With a variety of small cheeses

Not even kitchen rats would touch.

 

Everybody smiles and smiles freeze.

Women admire each other’s blouses.

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The help glide by on the periphery

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As do military on night maneuvers.

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For second course, fried grouse

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From third world rain forests,

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With just a soupçon of peasant

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Blood in the dry Cahblis.

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It adds prestige to employ

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The Church at their residence;

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The garden tempts Monseigneur

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With shotgun vengeance.

 

For the main course, noblesse oblige

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On a five tiered serviette

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Enfllambé over a corpse on the piano.

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Seems is better than meets the eye.

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For desert, an evening in jail;

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The Ambassador from Miranda

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Demanding diplomatic rights

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Is freed by the Bloody Sergeant.

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Finally, just before bed,

Mercantile instincts take over

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Bargaining, groping for

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That last leg of lamb.

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[Disposable Poem August 16, 2016]

Dr. Mike

When [The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie] had been nominated for an Oscar, four Mexican reporters tracked us down at El Paular, where we were already at work on another project. During lunch, they asked if I thought I was going to win that Oscar.

“Of course,” I replied between bites. “I’ve already paid the twenty-five thousand dollars they wanted. Americans may have their weaknesses, but they do keep their promises.”

A few days later, headlines in Mexico City announced that I’d bought the Oscar. Los Angeles was scandalized; telexes poured in; Silberman flew over in a rage from Paris. I assured him it was all a joke, but it took quite a while for the dust to settle. Ironically, the film did win an Oscar three weeks later.

– Luis Buñuel (above, in disguise, with the Oscar.)

 

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