The half with the aristocrats would slide nicely into most Bunuel films - the second half I'm happily thrown off by. He seems to find nobility in those like Celestine who traverse class, here ambiguous in her role as provocateur or avenging angel. Appropriate because few prod both the proletariat and elites quite like him. Moreau seems unshakeable.
Contrary to the title, there is no confessional perspective in Bunuel's de-eroticized take, a political allegory about ineffective resistance to fascism. Moreau is inscrutability personified, moral ambiguity on two socially mobile legs. Does she have a subversive agenda or she just complies with the scum? Does she care at all? That is the question.
I had a hell of a time finding this version. Everyone seems to prefer the Renoir version. Bah! Renoir turned it into a romance. Jacquot turned it into a melodrama. Only Bunuel could go this dark. Moreau is perfect. In this one the subtext becomes very important. Your expectations are thwarted. It's the dark humor and fearlessness that I love about his work with J.C. Carriere.
An enthusiastic two star review. A cutting look at bourgeois 'culture' through the lens of a woman navigating a terse, tight web of intrigue. It's political elements make this extremely relevant to our situation today. Some beautiful shots/camera work and excellent performances make this one to see.