That Obscure Object of Desire
|That Obscure Object of Desire|
French theatrical release poster
|Edited by||Hélène Plemiannikov|
That Obscure Object of Desire (
In recent years, the film has been highly acclaimed by critics.
A dysfunctional and sometimes violent romance happens between Mathieu (
Most of the film is a flashback recalled by Mathieu. The movie opens with Mathieu travelling by train from
Mathieu's fellow compartment passengers witness his rude act. These include a mother and her young daughter, a judge who is coincidentally a friend of Mathieu's cousin, and a psychologist who is a
Conchita, who claims to be 18 but looks older, has vowed to remain a virgin until marriage. She tantalizes Mathieu with sexual promises, but never allows him to satisfy his sexual desire. At one point she goes to bed with him wearing a tightly laced
Eventually, Mathieu finds Conchita dancing nude for tourists in a Seville nightclub. At first he becomes enraged. Later, however, he forgives her and buys her a house. In a climactic scene, soon after moving into the house, Conchita refuses to let Mathieu in at the gate, tells him that she hates him, and that kissing and touching him make her sick. Then, to prove her independence, she appears to initiate sexual intercourse with a young man in plain view of Mathieu, although he walks away without witnessing the act. Later that night he is held up at gunpoint as his car is hijacked.
After this, Conchita attempts to reconcile with Mathieu, insisting that the sex was fake and that her "lover" is in reality a homosexual friend. However, during her explanation, Mathieu beats her (she then says "Now I'm sure you love me"), causing her bandaged and bruised state seen earlier in the film.
Just as the fellow train passengers seem satisfied with this story, Conchita reappears from hiding and dumps a bucket of water on Mathieu. However, the couple apparently reconcile yet again when the train reaches its destination. After leaving the train, they walk arm in arm, enjoying the streets of Madrid.
Later in a mall in Paris, loudspeakers announce that a strange alliance of extremist groups intends to sow chaos and confusion in society through terrorist attacks. The announcement adds that several right-wing groups plan to counter-attack. As the couple continues their walk, they pass a seamstress in a shop window mending a bloody nightgown. They begin arguing just as a bomb explodes, apparently claiming their lives.