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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Bella di giorno')
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/bunuel.htm
France 1967

Catherine Deneuve’s porcelain perfection hides a cracked interior in one of the actress’s most iconic roles: Séverine, a Paris housewife who begins secretly spending her after­noon hours working in a bordello. This surreal and erotic late-sixties daydream from provocateur for the ages Luis Buñuel is an examination of desire and fetishistic pleasure (its characters’ and its viewers’), as well as a gently absurdist take on contemporary social mores and class divisions. Fantasy and reality commingle in this burst of cinematic transgression, which was one of Buñuel’s biggest hits.

***

When Belle de Jour was first released in 1967, CV was a lot younger, the world of film was less jaded, and the subject matter here was unquestionably titillating. Today, when sadism/masochism has become common subject matter for ad campaigns aimed at the teenage market, we look at this film with different eyes.


If the shock value of Belle de Jour has been mitigated, director Luis Buñuel's artistry has not. Indeed, since we are no longer shocked by the film, or see its subject matter as the novelty it once was, we are better able to evaluate it in its own terms. Buñuel tells the story of an upper middle class housewife, in a loving but sexually frigid marriage, who acts out her fantasies by becoming a prostitute in a brothel. The film moves back and forth between current reality, flashback, and our heroine's fantasies, often leaving it to the viewer to determine which mode is operational. The heroine, played with smooth finesse by Catherine Deneuve, has a particularly strong affinity for bondage, domination, and submission.


Buñuel stays detached from the proceedings, nonjudgmental, coolly unemotional. On the surface he gives us glorious color, handsome settings of lush interiors, and chic (even today!) costuming by Yves Saint-Laurent. All this provides stark contrast to the darker sexual fantasies, the edgy threat of violence, the sleazy underworld of sex-for-hire. There are moments of comic relief, but the humor here is dark, too.

Excerpt of review by Arthur Lazere on CultureVulture.net located HERE

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Comparison

Optimum (Optimum Buñuel Box) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Warner (Bunuel box 1) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC vs. RusCiCo. - Region 0 - PAL vs. Studio Canal (Studio Canal Collection) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Ole, Arvid and Ashirg for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Optimum (Optimum Buñuel Box) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT

2) Warner (Bunuel box 1) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) RusCiCo. - Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' - Blu-ray- FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray- RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

or available individually

Optimum Blu-ray Edition:

Studio Canal Blu-ray Edition in Germany:

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Warner

Region 2 - PAL

Miramax
Region 1 - NTSC
RusCiCo.
Region 0 - PAL
Studio Canal
Region ' B' -
Blu-ray
Criterion - spine # 593
Region ' A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:36:06 (4% PAL speedup) 1:36:05 (4% PAL speedup) 1:39:51 1:39:54 1:39:53.083 1:40:14.258
Video

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.25 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.99 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.10 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,153,415,610 bytes

Feature: 28,673,574,912 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.68 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,608,665,461 bytes

Feature: 29,547,091,968 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Optimum (Bunuel box 1)

 

Bitrate:

 

Warner (Bunuel box 1)

 

Bitrate:

 

Miramax

 

Bitrate:

 

RusCiCo.

 

Bitrate:

Studio Canal

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

Criterion

Blu-ray

 

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono) French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

French, English  (Dolby Digital 2.0)

French, English dub and Russian voice-over ( all Dolby Digital 5.1 )

DTS-HD Master Audio English 959 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 959 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1032 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1032 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 965 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 965 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio German 932 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 932 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 952 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 952 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio Commentary: English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English and None English (burnt in) English and None Russian and None English , Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and none English and None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by professor Peter W. Evans.
• A history of the film - French documentary from 2002 (29:39).
• Trailer (with burned in English subtitles).
• 3 trailers of other Optimum releases.
• 16 pages booklet, half about Buñuel / half about Deneuve.
• Poster reproduction in postcard size for each movie in the box.

DVD Release Date: 22 Jan 2007
8 Slim transparent Keep Cases in solid box.

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:

Comes in Boxset with Diary of a Chambermaid and The Milky Way

DVD Release Date: September 6th, 2004
Digipack

Chapters 20
 

Release Information:
Production Company: Buena Vista Home Vid

Aspect Ratio(s):
Widescreen - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Bunuel Scholar Julie Jones
• Original U.S. Theatrical Trailer & 1995 Re-Release Trailer
• Widescreen format

DVD Release Date: January 22, 2002
Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio: RusCiCo

Aspect Ratio(s):
Widescreen - 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• Trailers for 3 films: That Obscure Object of Desire, Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and Melville's Un Flic (all available in 16:9 Ruscico DVDs).  

• Filmographies and short biographies in Russian for 11 personalities.  

• 23-minute documentary about Bunuel in Spanish.  

• 8-minutes interview with Jean-Claude Carrière and 

• 1-minute interview with Michel Piccoli (both in French).

• The documentary clips can be found in a documentary "A proposito Bunuel", where Bunuel tells about himself in a voice-over and interviews.  The documentary is available in Region 1 on the Criterion "The Discreet Charm of Bourgeoisie" DVD

NOTE: No English subs or Menu choices.  


DVD Release Date: 
Summer 2002
Keep Case
Chapters: 32

Release Information:
Studio:
Studio Canal

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,153,415,610 bytes

Feature: 28,673,574,912 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.68 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by professor Peter W. Evans.
• The Last Script - 1:34:33 documentary on Buñuel. English Subtitles
• A Story of Perversion or Emancipation? English Subtitles (29:39 in PAL)
• Story of of a Film - PAL 1/2 hour
• Trailer with English subs (3:00 in PAL)
• 20-page booklet - essay by Derek Malcolm
• BD-LIVE Capable

 

Blu-ray Release Date: November 3rd, 2009
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 41,608,665,461 bytes

Feature: 29,547,091,968 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary featuring Michael Wood, author of the BFI Film Classics book Belle de jour
• New video piece featuring writer and sexual-politics activist Susie Bright and film scholar Linda Williams (18:09)
• New interview with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (10:22)
• Segment from the French television program Cinéma, featuring interviews with Carrière and actress Catherine Deneuve (7:17)
• Original and rerelease trailers
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Melissa Anderson and a 1970s interview with director Luis Buñuel

 

Blu-ray Release Date: January 17th, 2012
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 23

Optimum DVD Box Packaging

CLICK to order from:

or available individually

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion Collection - Region 'A' Blu-ray - December 11':

There isn't much I can see in regards to consistency vs. the Studio Canal Blu-ray. The Criterion has occasional bolder and brighter colors, their bitrate is marginally higher and they have more information - on all 4 sides - in the frame. At times it also looks darker and skin tones are frequently warmer. One factor that I made more of a note of - was the Criterion shows more fine grain. If forced to choose I'd say I prefer the Criterion in-motion, but that is looking at it with a very discerning eye and I suspect most will be pleased visually with either HD video transfer. 

Criterion remain authentic with a linear PCM 1.0 channel mono track at 1152 kbps. Everything is clean and clear without flaws. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Supplements are impressive with an excellent new audio commentary featuring Princeton professor Michael Wood, author of the BFI Film Classics book Belle de jour . That Obscure Object of Desire is a new 18-minute video piece featuring writer and sexual-politics activist Susie Bright and film scholar and UC Berkeley Professor, Linda Williams author of Screening Sex. They discuss Belle de Jour's representation of feminine sexuality and fantasy, and its themes on masochism, power, and desire in terms of director Luis Bunuel's surrealist aesthetic. There is also a new 10-minute interview with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, who worked on several films with Bunuel, but none of their collaborations was a bigger success or more influential than Belle de Jour. There is a 7-minute segment from the French television program Cinéma, featuring interviews with Carrière and actress Catherine Deneuve on the set of Belle de Jour. It was directed by Frederic Rossif and first aired December 23rd, 1966. We can view the original and rerelease trailers and there is a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Melissa Anderson and a 1970s interview with director Luis Buñuel.

Another tumultuous Criterion release. Those patient fans with region 'A'-locked systems will rejoice at the detail put into this Blu-ray release. I feel like I consistently see new things in Bunuel's film every time I watch it. The Criterion is a brilliant package and one we can give our full endorsement.       

***

ADDITION: Kinowelt - Studio Canal Collection - Region 'B' Blu-ray - November 09:

Firstly, what the hell do you have to do to get one of these editions? I had great difficulty getting the Optimum - so, as I knew the Studio Canal would be the exact same transfer - I simply order that as I began to get impatient with my Optimum order unfulfilled.

Once again this starts with a list of country options of which Australia and the United Kingdom are choices. This is another Blu-ray from The Studio Canal Collection and should be the same transfer with the same subtitle and audio options - and the same video transfer size. They are coded for region 'B' (like Last Year at Marienbad) - as we presume the other two Blu-ray editions are. If we can discern any significant differences we will post them here.

In my opinion this is one of the most important Blu-rays of the year. This looks like the same print source as the French Warner - but it is now in 1080P and at film speed (not PAL). It looks, in a word, 'magnificent' to my eye - some minor blemishes still exist but nothing to deter  from the beautiful colors, paler flesh tones, and visible grain structure of the film. It preserves the 1.66 aspect ratio.

Like the other Studio Canal Blu-ray releases - these are 'international' in the sense they have 4 different language DTS-HD Master tracks - here in Belle De Jour all in 2.0 channel and there are many subtitle options. My Momitsu has identified it as being coded only for Blu-ray region 'B' (NOT 'A' as well).

SD supplements are in PAL and we still get the excellent commentary from professor Peter W. Evans. Also included are the older half hour, French, "A history of the film" documentary from 2002 (with optional English subtitles). New beyond the Optimum edition are fascinating 1 1/2 hour The Last Script documentary on Buñuel and the A Story of Perversion or Emancipation? piece - plus, of course, the 20-page booklet - essay by Derek Malcolm. The disc is also BD-Live functional.

Another easy recommendation that should garner multiple votes in our year end poll. Purchase without fear. This Blu-ray is the 'real deal'.

NOTE: Beware the Canadian Alliance version HERE as it has no extras and does not even offer English subtitles!

ADDITION - Optimum - Feb 2007 - It isn't too much, but to my eye I think the Warner is slightly sharper than the new Optimum. It is possible that black levels have been minimally boosted but the image overall is a tad smoother as well. We can, of course, dismiss the other two releases for image (Miramax and RusCiCo). It is certainly not a deal breaker and the Optimum has some valued supplements plus the subtitles are removable (where the Warner's are not).

Extras: Commentary by professor Peter W. Evans, a history of the film - French documentary from 2002 (29:39), trailer (with burned in English subtitles), 3 trailers of other Optimum releases, a 16 pages booklet, half about Buñuel / half about Deneuve and a poster reproduction in postcard size for each movie in the box.

The Optimum Luis Buñuel Collection has 8 titles - That Obscure Object Of Desire, The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, Diary Of A Chamber Maid, The Phantom Of Liberty, Milky Way, Tristana, La Joven (aka La Jeune Fille) and Belle De Jour and is a good bargain if you consider the price for, example, the Criterion editions. Fans who have not shelled out yet for digital Buñuel (or only a few) will consider this package an easy decision.

Bottom line is that the Optimum has been transferred with decent elements and is a good purchase.

NOTE: We are not sure if the booklet/poster is included with the single release.

***

ADDITION - Warner - July 2005 - Pictures speak louder than words and it is quite obvious that the Warner PAL Boxset is the one to get easily eclipsing both other images. The only unfortunate part of the Warner are the burned in subtitles, but still a no-brainer purchase with the Boxset including Diary of a Chambermaid and The Milky Way.

***

The Miramax 1.66:1 transfer is identical to Criterion's previous laserdisc, which marked the first home availability of this title in the U.S. The audio commentary of the R1 DVD  is by "noted Buñuel scholar" Julie Jones, a professor in the foreign language department of New Orleans University. Its a pretty close call with the image of these 2 DVDs. The Miramax is not anamorphic either and slightly sharper, but the RusCiCo has less scratches and damage. Obviously the lack of English subs for the RusCiCo will limit its marketability, but if you understand French then this is the disc to get. 

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

 

Optimum (Optimum Buñuel Box) - Region 2 - PAL
 



(Warner (Bunuel box 1) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. RusCiCo. - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)

 

   

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Criterion Blu-ray Subtitle Sample

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Optimum (Optimum Buñuel Box) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner (Bunuel box 1) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) RusCiCo. - Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum (Optimum Buñuel Box) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner (Bunuel box 1) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) RusCiCo. - Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray- FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray- BOTTOM

 

 


1) Optimum (Optimum Buñuel Box) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner (Bunuel box 1) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) RusCiCo. - Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray- FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Optimum (Optimum Buñuel Box) - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Warner (Bunuel box 1) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Miramax - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) RusCiCo. - Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray- FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Studio Canal Collection - Region ' B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-rays

Sound:

Blu-rays

Extras:

Criterion Blu-ray

 Hit Counter


Recommended Reading for Buñuel Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

or available individually

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

DVD Box Covers

 

or available individually

Optimum Blu-ray Edition:

Studio Canal Blu-ray Edition in Germany:

Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Warner

Region 2 - PAL

Miramax
Region 1 - NTSC
RusCiCo.
Region 0 - PAL
Studio Canal
Region ' B' -
Blu-ray
Criterion - spine # 593
Region ' A' -
Blu-ray





 

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Gary Tooze

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