A formal dinner party starts out normally enough. After the bourgeois group retire to the host’s music room, they inexplicably find themselves unable to leave. Hours pass and then days, and as the time plods by, disturbing changes in the formerly-genteel guests occur.
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This is such a pure form of surrealism and absurdity. Luis Bunuel was asked by Warner Brothers to work on a story that eventually was filmed as The Beast with Five Fingers (1946). 'The Exterminating Angel' contains many of the elements of the earlier film including the large mansion, piano recital, and stabbing of a disembodied hand."
Not since Renoir's 'La Regle du Jeu' had a film so aptly deconstructed and subverted bourgeois society. The animalistic metaphor points the finger at the brutality of elitism. Bunuel was a master at constructing narratives that appealed to high society and then unravelling the rottenness at its core. Polemical.
A modernistic surreal masterpiece that simultaneously embraces and makes fun of the nonsense that fills Bunuel's filmography. As such, it's one of those rare films that goes through all kind of emotions as it flip-flops between comedy, drama and sheer unabashed WTF. The dream sequence is also likely my favorite scene in any Bunuel film. The ending, though likely way too on the nose, is also oddly amusing.
Noone does Marxist satire of the upper class mixed with absurdist situations quite like Bunuel. This one kinda reminded me of the Twilight Zone in it's black and white photography and spare storytelling and I mean that as a compliment to that tv show and the movie.
Luis Bunuel's been a big disappointment for me. I loved Simon of the Desert, but every feature I've watched by him since then has been downhill. I didn't find this artistic, entertaining, or remarkable in any sense of these words :/ . . .
Like with all great surrealist pictures, this film is an experience; the thoughts and emotions of the characters are conveyed to the audience in a sort of transference, you feel like they are feeling, and you think what they appear to be thinking. This is pure cinema; film as more than mere reproduction of reality; film with the capacity to go beyond what's real.
Was this supposed to be a condemn or a joke? A film about religion or about the human will? Would have Immanuel Kant enjoyed it? Personally, I don't care. Stendhal's syndrome from the beginning 'till the end!!
I've been watching a lot of Luis Bunuel films lately, and have found them to be hit or miss in terms of living up to their reputations - but this is the Bunuel film I've been waiting for. A strange and wickedly funny absurdist classic - there's really no other film like it.