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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Rafael Acosta, Ambassador of the South American Republic of Miranda, arrives with M.
and Mme. Thévenot and the latter’s younger sister Florence to dine at the home of M. and
Mme Sénéchal (the three men enjoy a profitable association, smuggling heroin in the
diplomatic pouch). Learning from Mme. Sénéchal that her husband is out and that they
have arrived a day early, the party repair to a nearby restaurant but are deterred from
eating the meal they have ordered by the corpse of the proprietor, laid out in the next room.
Accepting a subsequent invitation from the Sénéchals (who have now acquired a workerbishop as gardener), they deduce from the absence of their hosts (who have actually just
slipped out to make love on the grounds) that a police raid is imminent and speedily depart.
Their further attempts to eat together are equally abortive. The tearoom where the ladies
meet has temporarily run out of all refreshments, while the Sénéchals’ next dinner party is
interrupted during the hors d’oeuvre by the premature arrival of an army battalion for war
games; the Colonel invites them all to dinner at his house the following week. The
Colonel’s dinner, as M. Sénéchal dreams of it, is set on the stage of a theater above a
jeering audience; in M. Thévenot’s sleep, it becomes a diplomatic reception at which the
Ambassador, sensitive to political insult, shoots his host. At another lunch in the
Sénéchals’ house, the group is arrested and jailed for dope smuggling. Released upon the
intervention the Minister of the Interior, they assemble for yet another meal and reach the
meat course before being machine-gunned by terrorists — upon which the Ambassador
awakens with a start, then slips into the kitchen to raid the refrigerator. There is, however,
reason to suppose our six charmingly discreet bourgeois will stride on towards yet another
tantalizing repast.

The 4K restoration was produced by Studiocanal in 2022 with the support of the CNC
(Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée). Restoration work was carried out by
the L’Image Retrouvée laboratory using elements stored in the French Film Archives. The
original 35mm negative was scanned in 4K on Arriscan and, for certain parts of the
negative that were too badly damaged, an interpositive was used to optimize the
reproduction of the film in its original quality. Scratches, physical deteriorations, and dust
have been erased frame by frame. The color grading was done with reference to the
original 35mm elements in order to respect the image as supervised by the film’s director
of photography Edmond Richard. The soundtrack has been restored from the original mix
to recreate a sound consistent with the period.