By Lisa Schwarzbaum
August 01, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

That Obscure Object of Desire

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type
  • Movie

That Obscure Object of Desire — rereleased almost 25 years after its debut — is the final work of the great Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel and also his casual masterpiece, a mature commentary on the invisible line between passion and absurdity — erotic, political, and religious. When actress Maria Schneider withdrew from the production, an inspired Buñuel cast two women — French porcelain Carole Bouquet and Spanish terra-cotta Angela Molina — as the shifting shape of Conchita, the object in question, who torments Mathieu, a proper, middle-aged French businessman (Fernando Rey), with her simultaneous expressions of romantic devotion and sexual unavailability.

Mathieu is at once the most average of besotted men and the most spectacularly ludicrous, a Buñuel hero of classic proportions. The film, meanwhile, only appears to be the most workaday of structures, a piquant tale told in flashback; the lightness with which Buñuel was able to insert the little jokes and knife stabs of surrealism he loved so much is, in fact, divine.

That Obscure Object of Desire

type
  • Movie
Genre
mpaa
  • Unrated
runtime
  • 103 minutes
director
Performers
Studio
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