Belle de Jour

Belle de Jour  is a 1967 French drama film directed by Luis Buñuel and starring Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, and Michel Piccoli. The film is about a young woman who spends her midweek afternoons as a high-class prostitute while her husband is at work. The title of the film is a pun on the French term, “belle de nuit” (“lady of the night”, i.e. a prostitute), but Séverine works during the day under the pseudonym “Belle de Jour”. Her nickname can also be interpreted as a reference to the French name of the daylily (Hemerocallis), meaning “beauty of [the] day”, a flower that blooms only during the day. It was one of Buñuel’s most successful and famous films. American director Martin Scorsese promoted a 1995 limited re-release in America and a 2002 release on DVD. In 2006 the Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira released Belle Toujours, imagining a future encounter between two of the central characters from the original film. In 2010, Belle de Jour was ranked #56 in Empire magazine’s list, The 100 Best Films of World Cinema. It won the Golden Lion and the Pasinetti Award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival in 1967. Many of Deneuve’s costumes were designed by Yves St. Laurent.

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