For the time, a very risqué French release from Spanish surrealist Luis Buñuel. Bell de Jour is the tale of a beautiful housewife Séverine who is tempted into a life of high class prostitution after a lack of intimacy with her husband and elaborate fantasies of domination and bondage.
This was one of my focus films at University during my European cinema studies, and I was very impressed with the unequivocal explicit approach to the taboo subjects the film deals with. It’s a fascinating piece of work, and when compared to more modern cinematic efforts exploring “fetish” such as Fifty Shades of Grey, despite being made nearly 50 years earlier Belle de Jour is more intelligent and through insight into the world of sadomasochism.
It’s one of my favourite French films, and it’s blend of grim drama and surrealism is striking visually and the film has since gone on to influence directors such as Martin Scorsese. Naturally due to it’s European production and surrealist elements, the film is less accessible to a mainstream audience than, films such as the previously mentioned Fifty Shades of Grey. However, if you’re genuinely interested in the subject matter, or indeed cinema history in general, I would definitely track down a copy.