The Exterminating Angel (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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|Format||Subtitled, Widescreen, Restored, Special Edition|
|Runtime||1 hour and 34 minutes|
A group of high-society friends are invited to a mansion for dinner and inexplicably find themselves unable to leave in The Exterminating Angel (El ángel exterminador), a daring masterpiece from Luis Buñuel (Belle de jour, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie). Made just one year after his international sensation Viridiana, this film, full of eerie, comic absurdity, furthers Buñuel s wicked takedown of the rituals and dependencies of the frivolous upper classes.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel, a 2008 documentary featuring writer Jean-Claude Carrière and filmmaker Juan Luis Buñuel
- Interviews with actor Silvia Pinal and filmmaker Arturo Ripstein from 2006
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Marsha Kinder and an interview with director Luis Buñuel from the 1970s
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language : Spanish
- Product dimensions : 1.78 x 19.05 x 13.72 cm; 83.16 Grams
- Item Model Number : 43380368
- Media Format : Subtitled, Widescreen, Restored, Special Edition
- Run time : 1 hour and 34 minutes
- Release date : 6 December 2016
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Criterion Collection
- ASIN : B01LZT5R4X
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
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Hereafter, a modest contribution to the many interpretations already published about 'The Exterminating Angel'.
We should not forget that the screenplay of this movie is based on an unfinished play by José Bergamin, a catholic and Marxist.
In 'Providence street' a group of upper class people (pars pro toto) gets trapped in a house after a dinner party given by the soprano Lucia after her performance as 'Lucia', the main role in the opera 'Lucia di Lammermoor' by G. Donizetti. The libretto of the opera, based on a novel by Walter Scott, contains a bad (forced) marriage, a mad scene, a ghost and a suicide, all elements used in the movie.
Before the dinner party began, all members of the underclass (the servants) had left the house for all kinds of reasons, except the majordomo ('a clown'). At night, the guests don't want to leave the house and prefer to stay inside it during the whole night. In the morning, they find out that they are trapped inside. A journey into 'the disintegration of human dignity' begins. Without their servants, the upper class members are not capable of organizing a normal way of life. Their mansion doesn't become a paradise, despite the playing of a piano piece by Pietro Domenico 'Paradisi' and despite a cabalistic ritual, amulets (chicken feet) or even a Masonic cry.
The inhabitants are confronted with other living 'symbols' inside the house: a bear (violence) and sheep (victims). The latter will be slaughtered in order to save the party members from starvation.
The spell is broken when a party member can reconstruct the past, the beginning of the ordeal. They can turn the time back and leave their prison. Their liberation is celebrated with a 'Te Deum' mass. When they come out of the church, they see another spectacle: common people are shot down by their long arm, the police. The plebs is offering itself up to the existing powers like sheep, of which a long row enters the church in a holy procession.
The opportunity of a power grab has been missed. The angel is still exterminating the underclasses.
The repeated shot in question is at the start of the film when we are shown the guests entering the grand hallway twice, separated by a shot of the maids sneaking out the front door. Not only is this very disorientating, it is also the start of a series of double takes and repeats throughout the narrative which are crucial to the denouement of the film. To my mind its absence make quite a difference.
Before I bought this Arrow DVD I emailed the company to ask if the reports of missing shots was true. They assured me that it was the correct version of the film and included the repeated shot - well it doesn't - the scene is missing. My correspondence with them would indicate that they are surprised to discover this as they thought the shot was included.
Further research has unearthed one plausible answer to its absence: possibly the owners of this particular print, having little knowledge or understanding of the film, assumed that the repeated shot was a lab error and had it cut out.
This is a no frills, no extras DVD taken from a reasonable quality print. The whites can get a bit hot but on the whole the rich B & W photography of the original is reasonably well transferred. But it's still a major disappointment because of the missing shot which does affect the balance of the film in my opinion.
Hardly a comfortable or even a pleasurable experience. A dinner party of the well-to-do turns creepy when the guests prove reluctant/unable to leave. What stops them leaving or others entering? Why do all the servants walk out just as the quality arrives? How long before the facade of respectability shatters?
I enjoyed this a great deal more than The Discreet Charm Of the Bourgeoisie, and I hope to arrive at a coherent explanation, but when all's said and done, perhaps this is an historical artefact whose ideal audience has come and gone. I begin to think the atheist is too much in love with spiteful attacks...
Check it out. Viridiana is easier, but Bunuel's Angel invites discussion. Just don't sit still too long. The party has to end sometime.
Crikey this is an odd one and no mistake.All about an upper class dinner party where the guests find themselves unable to leave a drawing room,after dinner.They all say how very odd this is,but they still cannot bring themselves to leave.
They all become increasingly desperate as the days go by and it all degenerates as you would predict,as hunger and thirst kick in.
Bunuel is pointing out what basic parasitic beasts the upper classses are,and portrays their true selves as the social niceities break down between them.In B & W.
Not the best film i've seen and not the worst.If you are expecting to figure it all out- best of luck,girlfriend gave up halfway through.