Movie Review – That Obscure Object Of Desire

Posted: May 24, 2016 in Movie Reviews
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Conchita would make Amazing Amy go begging. No work of such chauvinism has been more artistic than this. Another classic which was as heavy as this was Three Colors – White but this one even beats White. The only Bunuel movie that I had watched apart from his most famous short ‘Un Chien Andalou’ was ‘The Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie’ which was too heavy (I had watched Nazrain too but I don’t remember a thing about it), it had too much to absorb but ‘That Obscure Object of Desire’ was such fun. It had many underlying themes but still phenomenally works even without noticing any of it. That’s the best thing about ‘The Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie’. First surrealistic film which I could truly absorb.

That Obscure Object of Desire

Fernando Rey, the person who had acted in ‘The Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie’, has acted in this one too. If he was a cynical person in that one who makes us hate him, here he is a person whom we would feel pity for. That shows what a fine actor he is. He has some aura around him which is eclectic. Like how Kamal could make us feel pity for him in Dasavatharam by having to deal with so many other Kamals and an irritating Asin. Fernando Rey makes us feel pity for what Conchita does to him.

The movie is almost in a flashback mode. Bunuel starts to play tricks right from the time, the people in the train meet and they already know each other. I loved the camera work in that part where the focus shifts from one person to another as if like a revolving chair which could not cut at exact angles. He takes the sarcasm one notch higher when Mathieu (Fernando Rey) tells about he could not advance with his sexual desires and it cuts to present where there is a kid too who is a listener. Mathieu tells, “I hope I’m discreet enough.” Everybody including the mother knows he is detailing than being discreet but she shoos off her daughter and asks him to continue the story.

When Mathieu pours water over Conchita, he comes across a rude man but just by one sentence he says, “Don’t you think, it’s better than killing a person,” the whole opinion changes. Bunuel here is a master of words too. Through the series of flashback he explains how Conchita had tortured him. Bunuel plays next joke on us (who are like the passengers of the train) by letting Mathieu and Conchita get together again. Every time we get to be the intelligent ones who see what happens in the film and judge them but look how he makes a fool of us here.

Coming to the most amazing part, Conchita. Both Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina are treasure troves. There is absolutely no logic when appears when. Even if there was I couldn’t find it till now. I even don’t want to. I like films which goes by the gut feeling rather than having a defined architecture. If at all I have to choose between the two for the one who is more evil, I’d go for Angela Molina. Because she is the one who comes to my mind when thinking of Conchita, trying to superimpose her image on Carole Bouquet.

There isn’t much you can do in this film by taking sides because you don’t even know what truth is and what is not. The various violent events which happen in the background, even though it doesn’t play an important part in the movie. It appears quite randomly and doesn’t have any effect on the people in movie. Just like songs in Indian films.

There is no point in finding meaning to this film but I would have been satisfied to have understood everything, even though not, if the movie had ended after Mathieu’s journey, where we and the passengers get cheated. It would have felt truly like going out of cinema hall after the end credits or coming out of station where you are going for the first time. Thanks to the broad frame and the passengers as just another person in the crowd we get that feeling.

But Mathieu and Conchita, going to some mall and seeing a dress being stitched with blood was kind of awkward for me. Not even awkward, it was something which couldn’t be described and confusing. May be Bunuel wanted that. That was the only part which looked like it was force fitted in an otherwise continuous film.


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