2020 Blind Spot Series: Belle de Jour
What I knew going in: I had seen a few scenes from a documentary on IFC about sex in film.
Severine (Catherine Deneuve) has been married to Pierre (Jean Sorel) for one year, yet as much as she loves him she cannot be intimate with him. Instead she has violent fantasies and on a whim, takes a job in the afternoons working as a prostitute.
On paper, Belle de Jour could go so many different ways. What surprised me was how delicate this story was handled when it could've so easily descended into exploitation and titillation. I appreciated that, as I don't think I would've been able to watch otherwise.
I feel like there are not many characters like Severine in film. It's reveled early on why she has issues with intimacy. Her husband doesn't try to force her, but it's clear the world around her wants her to be a certain way, and taking this job in a brothel is her way of fighting against it.
I just wish we had a bit more insight to her thoughts. Deneuve plays her with a 1000 yard vacant stare and many scenes are left open to interpretation. The ending is quite cruel, though not directly to her.
I enjoyed this over all, the pacing was great and I loved the costumes and production design, I just wish the script had a bit more substance.
Memorable Quote: "I'm not asking for your real name. You think mine is really Anais?" - Madame Anais (Geneviève Page)