(1977)4Michael BetzoldIt took surrealistic director Luis Buñuel most of his lifetime to find a wider international audience, and he finally achieved it with his last film, a hilarious story of sexual frustration. The story concerns a rich Spanish gentleman who is continually tricked and humiliated by a beautiful woman, who changes physical appearances and refuses his advances. That Obscure Object of Desire is based on a novel by Pierre Louys, which has been the basis for several other films. None is as richly realized as Buñuel's version, which uses two actresses (Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina) in the identity-switching lead role. And no director can explore sexual frustration as well as Buñuel, who made a whole career of the topic. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, a belated tribute to the long, groundbreaking career of the accomplished anarchistic director. Like his penultimate film, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, That Obscure Object of Desire is not as dense or confusing as Buñuel's earlier works, and is more accessible to general audiences. Still, it is full of the director's characteristic camera trickery, biting social satire and psychological game-playing.