Conversation with Luis Buñuel on Belle de jour

08 septembre 1967
03m 08s
Ref. 00048


Summary :

Interview with Luis Bunuel at the Mostra in Venice on the occasion of the release of his film Belle de Jour, in which he explains how he adapted Joseph Kessel's novel. He also discusses his respective relationships with Spain, France and Mexico, and the beginning of his career with An Andalusian Dog.

Media type :
Broadcast date :
08 septembre 1967
Source :
ORTF (Collection: JT 20H )
Themes :
Places :


Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), who came to Venice's Mostra (where he won the Golden Lion award) to presentBelle de Jour, talks about three countries that were significant in his life and career: his native Spain, where a Jesuit education forever affected him and where he met a young Salvador Dali, who introduced him to dadaism; France, where he emigrated to in 1925 to join the surrealists and shoot the scandalous An Andalusian Dog (1928) which was inspired by one of Dali's dreams; and Mexico, where he exiled himself after the war, after being kicked out of the United States because of his Marxist beliefs.

In Joseph Kessel's Belle de Jour, Catherine Deneuve plays a young upper class girl that prostitutes herself behind her ill husband's back - a plot close to one of Jean-Luc Godard's films shot that same year (1966), 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her. After that, Buñuel shoots The Diary of a Chambermaid, his second adaptation with scriptwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. It was to be "his last film" - a declaration which later proved to be false since he shot 5 more films, 3 of which were co-written with Carrière, such as That Obscure Object of Desire.

Charlotte Garson


Christian Durieux
Mr. Bunuel, I'd like to know, regarding Belle de Jour, what you've added to the novel, beyond what was in Joseph Kessel's novel.
Luis Bunuel
I have the main storyline, it's hard enough to make a modern film with that, I mean a film because of the story which is a bit of a soap opera. But I took Severine's central character and the fundamental change of the book with Jean-Claude, we did the scenario by interpolating sequences, small interpolations, ideas that can be imagined by either Severine or us. There's a certain confusion that occurs in the film, which is interesting. I think it might be interesting. I brought... The only thing we brought was that, interpolated ideas, which might be imagined by Severine or imagined by us, I don't know. Or not imaginary at all.
Christian Durieux
It's been said that Belle de Jour is your final film?
Luis Bunuel
I think so, yes. Usually, it will... I think it's my final film. I don't really like working. I work very hard at idleness. I'm able to spend months without doing anything and I'd like to end by doing nothing. I don't know.
Christian Durieux
I'd like to know what you owe to Spain, Mexico and France, respectively. Can you talk to us about that?
Luis Bunuel
For Spain, I feel physically and culturally attached to that country. It represents my studies, my youth, my childhood, my friends, so I think I'm very much Spanish. But on the other hand, I owe my training, I would say that, spiritually, I owe a lot to France because... thanks to the Surrealist group, I went to Paris, I entered the group and I owe a lot. I might have become a different person without this surrealist experience. For Mexico, I owe very little to the culture. I love this country I'm Mexican, but I'm a stranger to Indian culture. Usually, in art, if I'm correct, anything that doesn't come from our civilizations, that is to say, Christian art that comes from Greece, Rome, the Roman cathedral, the gothic cathedral, is felt with the heart. And the other art, which I call exotic, leaves me completely cold. Any art which isn't Christian doesn't move me.
Christian Durieux
When An Andalusian Dog came out in the Ursuline cinema in Paris, you were in the theatre of course, but your pockets were filled with rocks. Do you still show up at your films' screenings with your pockets filled with rocks, thinking about the audience?
Luis Bunuel
Today, many years have gone by already. At that time, I carried the rocks not to defend my film but to defend our ideas, the group's ideas, right? It was disinterested. Today, if I had the same rocks, it would be an offended film-maker, the artist's dignity and vanity offended. So it's not necessary. They are immoral rocks.