That Obscure Object of Desire

Luis Buñuel's masterpiece

Comedy Drama Romance
103 min     7.465     1977     France


After dumping a bucket of water on a beautiful young woman from the window of a train car, wealthy Frenchman Mathieu, regales his fellow passengers with the story of the dysfunctional relationship between himself and the young woman in question, a fiery 19-year-old flamenco dancer named Conchita. What follows is a tale of cruelty, depravity and lies -- the very building blocks of love.


CinemaSerf wrote:
There is just a great dynamic here between the wealthy "Mathieu" (Fernando Rey) and his mischievous femme de chambre "Conchita" (Ángela Molina & Carole Bouquet). Why two actresses? Well that's because Luis Buñuel has decided to tell this entertaining story using a couple of timelines that show just how this rather stayed and sophisticated man fell under the spell of his servant and of how their relationship evolved (to put it loosely) over time. These actresses are not, however, different to illustrate the passing of time - more to demonstrate the different and frequently contrasting personalities presented by "Conchita". We, like the passengers on the train to whom the story is being regaled, vacillate between laughter and despair as this curious character study unfolds/unravels before us in a quickly paced hundred minutes of lively cinema. The dialogue is pithy and potent - it also leaves us to make our own judgements on the characters and upon their flaws and foibles. Perhaps she is a tease? Perhaps he is a gullible old fool? Perhaps she is unhappy at being the object of an unsought affection? Perhaps he is more predatory than he might outwardly seem? Perhaps none of the aforementioned apply? Well we must judge for ourselves. It does require a bit of concentration, this film - and that's no bad thing because there is lots going on for us to enjoy with some fine and intimate photography from Edmond Richard to keep it personal and interesting too. This is well worth a big screen viewing if you can - somehow that is just more fitting for this classy and stylish - even slightly surreal - film.