That Obscure Object of Desire

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That Obscure Object of Desire (aka Dieses Obskure Objekt der Begierde)
Special German Boxed DVD release
Duration: 99 mins
Ratio:1.66:1 (16/9)
Lang: English, German, French, Italian


 Recounted in flashback are the romantic perils of Mathieu, a middle-aged French sophisticate as he falls for his nineteen year-old former chambermaid Conchita.
Director: Luis Buñuel (as Luis Bunuel)

The film opens with Mathieu leaving Seville for Paris. As his train is about to depart, we see a bruised and beaten Conchita (Bouquet) rush to the platform and call after him. With a minimum of fuss, Mathieu calmly tips a bucket of cold water over her. This immediately piques the curiosity of Mathieu’s fellow (first class) passengers; what could possibly have led such a distinguished gentleman to such an indecorous act? Mathieu settles down and starts telling his story, allowing Buñuel to introduce a familiar narrative device, one so straightforward that it might seem at odds with his usual subversiveness. As Octavio Paz notes, however, it’s all part of

the duality that governs [Buñuel’s] work. On the one hand, ferocity and lyricism, a world of dream and of blood which immediately calls to mind two other great Spaniards: Quevedo and Goya. On the other, the concentration of a style not at all baroque in character which leads him to a kind of exasperated sobriety. The straight line, not the surrealist arabesque.

In That Obscure Object of Desire, the train scenes act as the straight line, the thread running through the picture. Italo Calvino has also commented on this side of the director’s work: “In Buñuel there is a classicism akin to that of a Renaissance novelist and I think it comes through above all in the films he made in France; characters that find themselves in a place in the country, or the meeting of characters with a story to tell, as in his final film.”


  • Model: E12
  • Manufactured by: German Import

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