Director Luis Buñuel's subtle, kinky black comedy (his first film in color) tells the bizarre story of Severine (Deneuve), a bored young woman in an arid marriage to a medical student (Jean Sorel), who seems to have repressed sadomasochistic tendencies. Her bizarre and erotic dream life begins to meld with reality as she embarks on a secret life as a high-priced call girl to feed her compulsion. And wait till you meet her clients!
This unique, still fascinating film includes the director's trademark melding of conscious and unconscious imagery, as in a new and provocative context, we revisit Bunuel's signature themes: namely, the well-ordered but vacuous lives of the bourgeoisie, and the base desires lurking beneath their routinized lives and placid facades. "Belle" remains a multi-layered, hypnotic work, and Deneuve is, as always, exquisite. The fabulous Michel Piccoli also registers as a licentious type who points Severine toward her stimulating new pastime.