delicious anti-bourgeoisie satire set on a masterfully-crafted claustrophobic bubble, whose nature - to isolate - inevitably leads to its fundamental purpose - to strip the conservative upper class of all its vain and vacant pretensions. in this surreal universe, the spell which confines is the same that exposes
Buñuel and his impenetrable ambiguity - cruelty and kindness, humor and tragedy, Christianity and atheism become indiscernible. In The Exterminating Angel, his power is as potent and anarchic as ever, but enveloped in a formal precision that came with time. This marks the beginning of his later phase, filled with masterpieces. Had the chance of rewatching this in 35mm - it was as strong as the first time.
Less garishly subversive than other works by Bunuel (not to mention something by auteurs like Arrabal or Jodorowsky) I remember coming away from this picture feeling a tad disappointed it wasn't more "surreal"... however, in hindsight, it's a masterful exploration/deconstruction of bourgeois tropes and behavior...this film is the work of a genius in full command of his vision and material...
Buñuel again irreverently snipping at the conservative bourgeoisie, lost in their own bubble, and the connivance of the catholic church. With touches of surrealism and symbolic notes Buñuel crafts a pretty austere and entertaining quasi-comedy that finds no trouble in pulling a smirk.
Buñuel plays with the incredibly improbable and inexplicable case of people not being able to enter or leave a room after a party. What is so amazing is the brilliant way in which Buñuel manages to sell the idea without ever stepping into absurdity, even though the idea itself is quite absurd. And using this situation we are able to see the people pushed to their limits.
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."
3-4. An astonishing, minimal fantasy about a group of bourgeoise individuals trapped by their own garden of Eden, inverted here as a place that brings the rich back to God and their humanity by making them aware of filth, violence, death, etc. It then makes the bold choice of extending this critique of class to the church itself and the churchgoers. Plus, dat animal symbolism. ^_^
Une violente et séduisante allégorie sur la décadence du monde et des valeurs bourgeoises, qui sera relayée, élargie, dans l'épilogue sacrée de l'oeuvre, par une évidente contamination des instances religieuses qui vont elles aussi se retrouver "séquestrées" dans une église avec leurs fidèles, alors que des émeutes éclatent spontanément dans les rues et les quartiers. www.cinefiches.com
A fantastic stab at the hypocrisy of the upper class. Buñuel makes his thoughts on the wealthy clear in this surrealist dramatic comedy--directing under the firm belief that the comfort in their lavish lifestyles is the one thing that separates them from savagery. Remove the comfort, and their humanity soon follows.