Alot of you know that I am a big fan of the surrealist movement. Well actually I do not know a whole lot about the history of the movement but among respected film Writers I’m pretty damn sure I am the biggest supporter of Jean Claude Van Damme’s surrealist period, which is best represented by his collaboration with Tsui Hark and Dennis Rodman, Double Team. Well someone pointed me towards Louie Bunuel the famous surrealist and I was able to catch one of his later works, the discreet charm blah blah blah, on the Bravo network.
Most of you sickos probaly know Louie from that old porno The Andalusian Dog where some sick fuck cuts a lady right in the eyeball (but it’s actually a cow’s eyeball which is almost as bad, I mean jesus). He did that one with Salvador Dali and in his later solo work he still loved the dream logic of the surrealism but he used it to make comedies making fun of dumb rich people. And this my friends is a good fucking use for a movie.
Discreet Charm, aside from some gunplay, isn’t as action packed as Double Team. But it is almost as weird and freaky assed. The “plot” is about a bunch of uptight ambassadors and ambassador’s wives who are always inviting each other over for dinner, and a bunch of weird shit happens before they ever get to eat anything.
My friend that recommended this picture to me explained it like this: “There is a scene where this ambassador is having a meeting, and he sees a woman out his window walking a mechanical dog. He says, ‘Don’t worry, I know just what to do,’ then he pulls out a rifle and shoots the dog.”
There are many great Cinemanic moments like this and what makes it so funny is how unimpressed these characters are by all the weird shit that happens around them. They are so wrapped up in inviting and entertaining and choosing a good wine that they never think to question bizarre behavior or bombs going off outside their house. There is one scene where some soldier they’ve never met comes to the table and says that he would like to tell them the tragic story of his childhood. He does, then immediately gets up and leaves, and they don’t even seem to think it’s weird.
My favorite scene though is when a Bishop comes to the house to see this family. The maid (who is said to be elderly but looks about 19) tells him they’re not home, and he decides to wait for them to come back. He sneaks off to a shed and changes into the clothes of the recently fired gardener. When the couple comes home, the Bishop comes back in wearing overalls and a straw hat and announces himself – they don’t believe he’s the Bishop and throw his ass out. A minute later he comes back, wearing the Bishop’s robes again, and they let him in. And that’s when he tells them that he would like to be their gardener.
You may be asking, what the fuck? Well I don’t know either. And that is the beauty of it. This movie illustrates the absurdities of a shallow rich fuck lifestyle but without being bitter about it. It just makes it funny as hell. It also makes fun of movies themselves by imitating them up to a point and then senselessly dropping out. The story starts to go one way and as soon as you might be on the edge of your seat it completely abandons that plotline or says that it’s a dream or a dream within a dream.
It’s all played real poker faced and that makes it alot funnier. And there are so many little details. There is this one scene where a couple is about to get it on, and the dude keeps turning the gal around and putting her ass on his lap. She’ll turn back around and start kissing but every time he’ll figure some way to get back around to the doggystyle. I thought ha ha ha it’s funny cause it’s true, I know so many guys like that. Always wanting to do her up the butt and only because she doesn’t want it. You know what I’m talkin about fellas. Well let me tell ya spend a few years in the can and you wouldn’t ever want to do that kind of vile shit to your lady you bunch of fucknuts. grow up.
The character most of us will relate to is the lady with the mechanical dog, some kind of anarchist revolutionary who tries to spout off her beliefs but they always get drowned out by low flying airplanes or loud typewriters. One of these bourgeoise motherfuckers tries to tell her what’s what while he’s feeling her thighs and every time he pauses to get her input, she breaks something in his house. That is my kind of lady in my opinion.
Anyway some of you may be misled by the title, you may think wait a minute, I HATE the fucking bourgeoisie, I don’t want to hear about their charm no matter how god damned discreet it is. Well don’t worry bud it’s sarcasm, it’s making fun of them in my opinion. Don’t worry about it man thanks.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.