"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" unfolds with the absurd logic of a recurrent dream, and since the DVD has been beautifully restored, one is able to dream the dream in vivid colour. Elegantly dressed guests arrive for a dinner party only to have the hostess inform them that they have come on the wrong night; thus, they keep making appointments for dinners that are continually interrupted for one reason or another--all of the reasons being as patently ridiculous as are the characters: a bishop, who arrives at the house and asks to be hired as a gardener, and then relates the story of his macabre childhood; a soldier, who arrives at a restaurant (that has run out of tea and coffee), asks to join the ladies, whom he has never met before, and relates the story of his macabre childhood; a General, who arrives with his platoon a day early at the same house with the same hostess in time for dinner, and then, after the General invites a Private to relate the story of his macabre dream to the hosts and the invited guests (who listen attentively), both General and platoon depart for maneuvers (but not before inviting all the guests to his house for dinner, where even more macabre events unfold.). Thus, the dreams contain dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams within dreams et cetera ad absurdum.
This film is for anyone who has ever had recurrent nightmares of waiting for a bus on the wrong corner; of being about to take a test only to discover that one has studied the wrong subject; of being about give a lecture only to discover that one has left one's notes at home; or of performing on stage with a mouth stuffed with peanut-butter when one's cue is coming up. All the absurd commonplaces that make perfect sense when one is dreaming. And much of the "discreet charm" of the bourgeois characters in this film derives from the fact that one is dreaming their nightmares and not one's own.