Sunday, April 26, 2009

8 Days of Buñuel, Day 3: That Obscure Object of Desire (Luis Buñuel, 1977)

That Obscure Object of Desire is a film about shagging. In it, aging wealthy man Mathieu (Fernando  Rey) has his eye turned by Conchita, his young, inexperienced maid. He tries to kiss her one night, and the next day, she's gone. Three months later, post-random hold-up, he sees her again and is again, besotted, plying her with cakes, coffee, frequent visits and sweet nothings. She in return gives him a coy kiss now and then, but resolutely refuses to give him what it is he wants the most: a good lay.

Hence, the film, wherein he tells the people in his train cabin about his long and treacherous blue-balled time with her, is a journey of the sexual politics between rich older man and poor young woman, who has to survive on her sexual prowess. In doing so, she's conniving, cold, mercenary, mean, and a massive cocktease, but, as demonstrated by the closing scenes, perhaps she was right to act like a complete cow.

Two different actresses play Conchita, one for the day and one for the night (drawing subconcious links with yesterday's title, Belle de jour, perhaps), and such is Mathieu's physical longing for Conchita that it is interesting that there are two women playing her, implying, perhaps, that he is so enamored that he doesn't even realise what's going on right in front of him. 

I thought the observations of the film were absolutely amazing, way ahead of their time; despite being made over 30 years ago, this film knows so much about men, women and our carnal desires. On Conchita refusing to lose her virginity, stating that he'd no longer love/respect her if she gave it up, Mathieu purrs suggestively "there are ways to pleasure a man without having sex", but Conchita, looking disgusted at the request, turns around and ignores him, without giving him so much as a handjob. 

My kinda girl, and my kinda movie. Boom.



anahit said...

Buñuel is absolutely OBSESSED with sex by the sounds of it. I hate to sound like a lad, but it sounds like he needs a good shag.

HOWEVER, this film does seem really interesting. After exams, I reckon I may do a bit of a Buñuel marathon! xxxxx

Emma said...

Oh, he was! And that sounds like a very good idea.

Kayleigh said...

Oooh so that's where the Obscure Object term comes from. In Middlesex, Cal refers to his first love as the Oscure Object. Twas very sweet. I wouldn't mind a free postcard if you're offering. :P

Emma said...

Postcard on its way, Kayleighbung! <3

Joanne said...

Bunginity - I laughed! Love Walter and like the sound of this movie, thanks for sharing.

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Sara said...

Good review and great play on words!

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