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127 - The Exterminating Angel 
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Post 127 - The Exterminating Angel
Buñuel was one playful but cynical motherfucker wasn't he, purposely subverting every audience expectation but still making relatively straight forward films (depending on how you look at them). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what he was aiming for in The Exterminating Angel, because how could a film with such contempt for its ensemble of bourgeoisie characters be about anything else?

When the parents are gone the children may play but when the help up and leaves the bourgeois will loose themselves, without even going anywhere. After a night at the opera a group heads back to Edmundo Nobile and his wife Lucia's home for a dinner party, but right as the party is about to start all the help packs up and sneaks off. At first nothing seems all that wrong, the party has moved to another room and its about time everyone should be getting home. Buñuel's camera follows these boring, shallow people as they converse amongst themselves about the other patrons and their hang ups and others as they wait for the right time to sneak off and mess around, never quite getting around to leaving because no one else is. Three women discuss heading upstairs to freshen up, as their walking away a man says to another, "How much you wanna bet they aren't going to leave?" and sure enough they dissipate to separate conversations before leaving the room.

Before long most of the group is simply taking off their jackets and falling asleep en masse on couches and the floor right there in the music room. Characters remark on how rude and distasteful the act is, before deciding to join the others so as not to deviate from the others bizarre actions. Before the majority of the film has played out Buñuel has already set up this group's single minded mentality. It's obvious these people are monsters before their situation goes to shit, but they at least have the "decency" to call it rain while they're pissing on each other. It's after the room turns into their personal hell that they relinquish all their niceties. A dread has set over them and for some unapparent (to them) reason, they can't get themselves to leave. They soon run out of food, although in such a luxurious mansion there is surely a large store more. They break into the wall and tear apart a pipe for water, but there is obviously a number of faucets throughout the house they could use. They have everything they need, but they refuse to leave the room. They act as if their is some force keeping them from leaving, and plenty of people who read too far into the films they watch (was it Pedro who mentioned the pretentious film class student who found a meaning in the shadow on a woman's face?) have come up with many an interpretation of what this may mean, but I feel it's fairly simple: No one else is leaving, everyone else is afraid to leave, so I should be too.

Buñuel was never one to mask his contempt for anything, and The Exterminating Angel is an absolutely scathing satire/commentary. Every line of dialogue is precisely written, every shot chosen with knowledge of how it fits in with the shot preceding and following it. If you need to have a character to root for then look away from here, even the priests' don't escape from this one.


Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:19 am
Post Re: 127 - The Exterminating Angel
I saw this a few weeks ago with little advance knowledge.

Have to be honest though, Bunuel is not a favorite director of mine and whilst I liked it, i could not say I loved it

7/10 for me

Rob


Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:26 am
Post Re: 127 - The Exterminating Angel
Why only seven Rob?


Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:17 am
Post Re: 127 - The Exterminating Angel
JJoshay wrote:
Why only seven Rob?


I have now seen 6 of the 15 films Bunuel has in the top 1000 movies of all time. I've hated and loved none of them. I find that his surreal style is slightly distancing for me and that his observations are more intellectual than emotional.

Don't get me wrong, I liked The Exterminating Angel, but I loved the idea and what he was trying to do. There are some films that draw you in and stay with you and there are others on my journey I am glad that I saw but have little interest in revisiting.

Maybe like Godard I will suddenly appreciate that there is more, I dunno. But so far, it's not happening.

Rob

PS - I've seen L'Age D'Or, Belle De Jour, Los Olvidados, and Viridiana
PPS - Next up will be Discrete Charm


Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:27 am
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