A PILGRIMAGE IS A JOURNEY of moral or spiritual significance. In Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour, virtuous housewife Séverine embarks on a reverse pilgrimage of sorts, at least against her reality's social mores. Finding herself unable to be intimate with her husband, while secretly fantasizing about sadomasochism and bondage, she takes on work as a daytime prostitute while her husband is off at work.
Séverine uses the pseudonym "Belle de Jour", a twist on belle de nuit, which is a French term used to refer to a prostitute.
Styling cues add to the film's artistry, seeing Séverine in Roger Vivier Pilgrim pumps, paired with conservative outfits. These, in contrast with a sheer veil-cloak, lacy undergarments, big unbuckled boots and seductive stilettos, offer a juxtaposition between the antiheroine's worlds of domesticity and desire.
Catherine Deneuve is exquisite as both lady and tramp, in what the Criterion Collection describes as a "surreal and erotic late-sixties daydream" that has become as iconic as its protagonist. We can't all be Catherine Deneuve, but we can at least get a pair of those iconic shoes.
Belle de Jour, 1967. Directed by Luis Buñuel.