An elegant and erotic masterpiece, Luis Buñuel embarked on this film convinced that it would be his last. However, the receipt of the Golden Lion at Venice and universal critical acclaim persuaded him to undertake five further features, each one being a masterpiece in its own right. Stunningly photographed by Sacha Vierny, this complex parable on social, sexual and emotional repression stars Catherine Deneuve as bored housewife Séverine whose erotic fantasies lead her to seek escape in prostitution. Deneuve is utterly beguiling in a movie shifting between dream and reality with such deft sleights of hand that we are never sure whether we are watching episodes from Séverine’s life or sharing her fantasies. Deneuve is a luminous screen presence, but here the director is the film’s true star.