That Obscure Object of Desire

1977

Comedy / Drama

151
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 90%
IMDb Rating 7.9 10 20,302

Synopsis


Downloaded times
October 27, 2020

Director

Cast

Carole Bouquet as Conchita
Fernando Rey as Mathieu
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
952.9 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
103 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.73 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
103 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mjneu59 9 / 10 / 10

the last sigh of a master surrealist

Few other directors would dare to equate the male libido with international terrorism, but the final feature by master surrealist Luis Buñuel is a dark comic web of sexual obsession (too dark to be truly funny) set against a background of random explosions and political assassinations. The always dapper Fernando Rey stars as a wealthy gentleman who develops an all-consuming infatuation for his young Spanish maid, who by turns tempts him, teases him, refuses him, and finally humiliates him. All Rey wants is to carry his passion to its logical conclusion, but her (deliberately?) unpredictable shifts in mood, from coy temptation to spiteful rejection, leave him in a state of dangerous frustration. Buñuel applies his usual sly wit to the otherwise cynical and pessimistic scenario (one man affectionately refers to women as "sacks of excrement"), going so far as to cast two completely different actresses in the title role and interchanging them at random. The film is at once perverse and disturbing, providing a suitably mordant swan song to a long and distinguished career in movie iconoclasm.

Reviewed by cinemastronaut 9 / 10 / 10

surrealist masterpiece on self-conceit

I watched this film with my parents, & ended up having an interesting discussion with my mother on it. I'd seen Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie beforehand, which was probably helpful. The translation of the title reads, "that obscure object of desire" which is as relevant a title as could be. It's a surrealist film, which is only directly revealed not in the strange dream-sequences Charm employs, but rather in a very simple technical element: the use of two actresses for a single female lead. The two actresses are interchanged with seeming complete subjectivity. The only easy thread to denote is perhaps that one actress plays the more "French" side whereas the other plays the more "Spanish" side -- as though the character is meant to be Spanish, she grew up partially in Paris. I've read some theorizing that the one of the sides was emotive, & the other distracting -- which is also plausible. However most of what I want to discuss goes to the core of the meaning of a surreal film. My mom, it must be said, does not care much for the surrealists. I must admit, I never was crazy about Salvador Dali. The problem I think both of us have had to varying degrees is our own base level of empiricism that surreality ignores. Obviously, one woman can not be two women in any literal sense. But I think this is where the value of surreality can be appreciated. Surrealism has an ultimate primacy of being able to discriminate completely against "insignificant time" (as I posted on before) & even the ability to flaunt "insignificant time" as "significant time." The film itself I feel must be read as symbolic. Neither characters are particularly sympathetic in the sense that neither is particularly human. The male archetype is presented as Mathieu: older, richer, & wanting sex. The female archetype is presented as Conchita (which is short for the Spanish name Conception): young, beautiful, virginal, but sexually aware. My mom projected literal psychology on both characters as being the opposing parts of a sadomasochistic relationship, with Conchita as the sadist. I don't think it's that simple. Conchita continually asserts a nearly narcissistic if not wholly so appreciation of her self & independence. Whenever she feels Mathieu could own her she spites him with her assertions she is physically capable of providing for herself. Mathieu, in turn, desires Conchita greatly but does not seem to love her. He makes no overtures of marriage, & in fact seems very resistant to the idea. Conchita is threatened by her "love" of Mathieu, & the loss of independence it would engender, & Mathieu is obsessed with his physical desire for Conchita. Throughout the film Bunuel seems to throw in irrelevant information about terrorism, which is only made more silly & surreal by its treatment (one of the groups is called Revolutionary Army of the Baby Jesus, with a pantheon of other silly acronyms under it) & his seemingly repeating this device from Charm. The film, I believe, depicts what obsessive desires about self do to blind us to the obvious reality around us. In this case Conchita's narcissism & Mattieu's lust make the fact that their world is falling apart seem totally unimportant. Bunuel uses this right up till the final scene. Before I talk about the final scene, however, I want to establish another subtle surrealist thread through the film. Mathieu carries around a bag through several of the scenes. It is very out of place because it is a cheap rucksack (Mathieu is rich) and is never given an obvious purpose. It is just a seemingly random rucksack. We find out at the end that this rucksack is filled with lace & lace nightgowns: some of which are ripped & bloody. Mathieu & Conchita drop this rucksack off at a shop, & Mathieu gestures in amazement how an middle-aged woman stitches up a hole in a beautiful blood-stained lace garment shut, as if it'd never been ripped. The implication is not difficult to read, especially when we see Conchita's reaction, which is one of utter disgust. Mathieu is carrying around his past sexual experience, & trying to show Conchita that to be deflowered (Conchita's virginity is a topic of much conversation) does not mean one's delicate feminine beauty is ruined forever. Conchita reacts to this comment by running away from Mathieu. He catches up to her and here is where Bunuel reminds of the outside word: they are both blown up in a terrorist bombing. Their explosion is the finale. Bunuel uses surrealism to give a prescriptive ethical message: if you are concerned only about your needs, you will be destroyed by the outside world, which does not concern itself with you. My mom didn't like the idea that this was about gender types because she said it doesn't really apply to any men or women she knows. I feel this is a bit denying, but I can admit it's not a literally applied dynamic. It is merely a symbolic message: if we took these gender roles to their extremes we would treat each other horribly, & have no consideration for the greater good. I admit this is a somewhat simple, even didactic message. But I disagree that it doesn't have meaning for reality because it does not represent reality.

Reviewed by Lumpenprole 9 / 10 / 10

Apt title, though it does give the movie away

spoilers I really wish I hadn't known the title of the movie before seeing it for the first time. The plot is an examination of a walking appetite trying to fulfill itself by subjugating and controlling what it wants. Buñuel brings this to life with Fernando Rey playing an older man who has every need and luxury covered, but cares nothing for it if he can't have an enigmatic young woman named Conchita. Played alternately by an austere beauty, Carole Bouquet, and an impish vixen, Angela Molina, Conchita literally morphs away from him every time Rey's character comes close to having sex with her. Until the very end, she confounds and frustrates him because she is what he can never have. This is one of those movies that irritate people for several reasons. As a number of other reviews point out, Rey's Mathieu and Conchita are pretty repugnant people. Simply put, the kind of person that expects movies to provide characters who are morally good people to identify with will be as disappointed with Obscure Object as with any Altman or Kubrick film. It isn't that kind of movie. The theme is a dark examination of desire, asking - is it inseparable from a lust for control? Mathieu spends most of the movie trying to buy Conchita. Initially, he tries to coax her with food like an animal. When he learns she's a virgin, he tries to buy her off her own mother in a weirdly inverted dowry scene. Once he feels he's got exclusive rights to her in his country house, he immediately tries to set her up in his late wife's room - as though she's a new acquisition to replace an old spot left empty. And finally, in the Seville scenes where we see Conchita behind bars several times, he tries to set her up as his private stripper/whore. Conchita feints and rebuffs him at every turn, always stringing him along with a promise to love him on a condition he will never be able to meet. Namely, to respect her freedom as a person. But she is the `object' in the title and the story is mostly retold by Mathieu himself, so it's almost impossible for Conchita to be a human even to the audience. What anyone can make out by the end is that Conchita is not only coming out ahead in her scam game with Mathieu, but that she is locked into a pattern of sadistic control herself. This quest leads, inevitably, to a kind of consummation where Mathieu beats the snot out of Conchita. Buñuel films the blows carefully and the scene is uncomfortably long. Is this the control that Mathieu bought? As he relates the scene to the people in the train car (a wonderful device for the retelling of an amoral story) he grins ecstatically as he relates how richly she deserved his attack. Then, just like every other time he's felt like he was getting somewhere with Conchita, she turns the tables on him and he finds himself pursuing her. It seems pretty obvious that violence will continue to escalate and the stakes will be higher the next time Conchita winds Mathieu up. But before we have to see this, Buñuel blows them up in a terrorist attack. Terror and crime exist as background noise during the whole movie. Sometimes seeming to reflect the Mathieu/Conchita plot in news reports and it reinforces the theme of people getting what they desire through violence. A terrorist bomb kills indiscriminately to achieve some desired end (and Buñuel peppers the film with references to ever more absurd terror groups that could have no rational interest in common). A mugger by necessity takes what he wants from strangers. The plot of the movie is almost a literal redistribution of Mathieu's abundant wealth to the squalid Paris suburbs that Conchita lives in and the young drifters she travels with through her elaborate scheme. And the ultimate act of terror is Mathieu finally getting his hands on the protean woman he's been chasing and beating her into submission. Well, that's the penultimate act anyway before they too are consumed in some other person's desire for something that probably had nothing to do with them. It's a masterpiece. As questionable morally in its intelligent use of stereotypes as Vertigo.

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