Belle de Jour is about Severine, a married woman who is unable to bring herself to be physically intimate with her husband. A combination of frustration, curiosity and a disturbed childhood results in her visiting a brothel, and eventually, offering her services as a prostitute. She starts to lead a dual life, working in a brothel in the afternoons, and being a chaste wife to her husband outside her improbable profession.

After the film's initial release, distribution was restricted for many years due to copyright problems. Belle de Jour was re-released in 1995 through the efforts of director Martin Scorcese. Praised by Alfred Hitchcock as one of the greatest film directors, Luis Buñuel is regarded as the father of cinematic surrealism. Considered one of his greatest masterpieces, Belle de Jour is a surprisingly revealing and personal venture into the world of eroticism and its deviances. The breakthrough quality comes from its brazen exploration into eroticism, sexual deviances and sexuality, which challenged the audiences of its time. Contrary to social expectations, viewers are led by a sadomasochistic housewife rather than the conventional male character. Despite this, there is the common feeling of intrigue and bewilderment that is shared by Severine and the audience, as both are introduced to a mysterious, poetic and provoking world of eroticism, as seen from her perspective.