Belle de Jour (movie)

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Belle de Jour is a 1967 drama movie. It is based on the 1928 novel of the same name.

The title of this movie is a play on words on the French term belle de nuit ("beauty of the night", which means a prostitute).

The movie won the Golden Lion and the Pasinetti Award for Best Film at the 1967 Venice Film Festival.

Plot[change | change source]

Séverine Serizy, a young and beautiful housewise, is unable to be physically intimate with her husband, Dr. Pierre Serizy. However, they still love each other. Her sex life is limited to elaborate fantasies involving domination, bondage and sadomasochism. Pierre is frustrated with his wife's frigidity towards him. He respects her wishes, though.

While visiting at a ski resort, they meet two friends, Henri Husson and Renée. Séverine doesn't like Husson's manner and the way he looks at her. Back in Paris, Séverine meets up with Renée. Séverine learns that a common friend, Henriette, now works at a brothel. At her house, Séverine receives roses from Husson. She is unsettled by the gesture. At the tennis courts, Séverine meets Husson. They talk of Henriette and houses of pleasure. Husson mentions a high-class brother to Séverine. Husson later confesses his desire. Séverine, however, rejects his advances.

Séverine is haunted under childhood memories. Those include one in which a man appears to touch her in an iappropriate manner. Séverine goes to the brothel. The place is run by Madame Anaïs. That afternoon Séverine gives service to her first client. At first, she does not want to have sex. But then, she responds to the "firm hand" of Madame Anaïs. Séverine then receives the name "Belle de Jour" She has sex with the client. Séverine stays away for one week. She then comes back to the brothel. She begins working from two to five o'clock each day. Later, Séverine returns to her husband in the evenings.

One day, Husson comes by to visit Séverine at her house. She, however, does not want to see him. She does fantasize of having sex with him while her husband is present. Séverine's physical relationship with her husband improves. She begins having sex with him.

Séverine later gets involved with a young gangster named Marcel. He offers her the thrills and excitement of her fantasy. Marcel later becomes very demanding and jealous. Séverine decides to leave the brothel under Madame Anaïs' agreement. Séverine also worries about Husson. He has discovered her secret life at the brothel. One of Marcel's gangster associates follows Séverine to her house. Marcel visits her. He threatens telling her secret to her husband. She pleads for him to leave. And he does.

Cast[change | change source]

Critical response[change | change source]

On the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes, Belle de Jour has a 95% approval rating.[1] Roger Ebert gave the movie four out of four stars. It was included on his Great Movies list.[2]

Awards and nominations[change | change source]

Year Award Recipient Result
1967 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Award Luis Buñuel Won
1967 Venice Film Festival Pasinetti Award for Best Film Luis Buñuel Won
1968 Bodil Award for Best European Film Luis Buñuel Won
1968 French Syndicate of Cinema Critics Award for Best Film Luis Buñuel Won
1969 BAFTA Award Nomination for Best Actress Catherine Deneuve Nominated

References[change | change source]

  1. "Beauty of the Day". The Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  2. "Belle de Jour". Roger Ebert. Retrieved June 2, 2021.