Mathieu (Fernando Rey) is a self-satisfied Spanish businessman whose ordered, elegant life begins to fall apart when he becomes obsessed with the virginal Conchita, who professes love for him, but refuses to have sex with him. Based on a novel by Pierre Louys, “La Femme et le Pantin”, Bunuel’s film version is a comic exploration of the libidinous energies that undermine the precarious safety and order of the bourgeoisie. Though an assured and elegant film, Bunuel utilises surrealist touches, such as having two actresses play the same lead role (Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina) to unsettle and provoke the viewer.
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