Close Up

2 - 15 February 2019: The Exterminating Angel


The Exterminating Angel
Luis Buñuel, 1962, 94 min
Spanish with English subtitles

"Emerging at the dawn of his nouveau "French period," Buñuel’s extraordinary apparition embraces the theatrical ritual of his favorite social stage, the dinner party, to famously imprison a group of well-heeled guests without explanation at a sumptuous meal in a luminous Mexico City mansion. Trapped within their own nonsensical social structure "out of politeness," the guests realize they cannot escape their own soiree as ridiculous party banter, veiled insults and invented scandals give way to outrageous carnal depravity and animal ugliness. Buñuel elevates and abstracts political critique beyond simple satire – floating symbols like the recurrent sheep, the dream emblem par excellence. In the end the very fabric of time and space immobilizes Buñuel’s guests in discontinuity, repetition, and a confusion of reality and fantasy that draws a clear parallel to the film’s very own audience. Providing inspiration for Godard’s Weekend, The Exterminating Angel is a hysterical revolt against oppressive civilization and its willing victims." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Luis Buñuel