When it comes to movie titles, The Exterminating Angel is pretty spectacular. Being that I only read a small synopsis for the plot I had imagined it would be in the vein of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There None” and that the exterminating angel was a description of some femme fatale who was unleashing her wrath on the unexpecting party guests. Haha how wrong could I have been!
This, I find out to my complete joy and fascination is a film by Spanish director Luis Buñuel. A true master of surrealism and credited to be one of the most original directors in the history of film medium! Doh I knew the name but had never seen anything by him. Well you have to start somewhere I guess and the beauty is, I now have a whole bunch of his movies to blow my mind and if The Exterminating Angel is anything to go by, I’m in for some real treats.
Tagline – The degeneration of high society!
Upper class Edmundo Nóbile and his wife, Lucia invite a bunch of friends and associates back to their luxury mansion for music and late night drinks. As the night continues on into the early hours everyone starts to settle down to sleep on the couches, sofas and even the floor. When morning arrives no one seems keen to leave. Even when they start to feel the need to return to their homes, family or work, they find that once they reach the threshold of the opened doorway they can’t quite bring themselves to walk across it. This predicament carries on and on, causing all manner of countless problems for our guests.
The film is filled with dread, panic and depression, with symbolism and surreal moments aplenty as waves of dreams and delirium take over as food and water runs dry and sleep desperation sets in. Within the horror there is an undercurrent of dark comic humour as these rich aristocracy get brought down a peg or two. What happened and how does it end? Well you have to watch it but Luis Buñuel lets the viewer come up with his own interpretation and it makes the film so much more because of it.
Luis Buñuel also wrote the screenplay and story which features such fine dialogue and banter lead interactions. Being set in one room I can only imagine it would make the perfect stage play, it’s such a wonderful film and the whole reason I do this blog to find gems like these. One very happy wolfie.
Luis Buñuel quote – Give me two hours a day of activity, and I’ll take the other twenty-two in dreams.