The Exterminating Angel
The Spanish-born Surrealist Luis Buñuel—like fellow filmmakers Fellini, Hitchcock and Bergman—was possessed of a vision so unique that his surname has become an adjective not just for his cinematic style but as shorthand for a particular world-view. In Buñuel’s large canon, made on different continents between 1928 and 1978, there are no films without interest and a handful that represent the perfect flowering of his art: El, Illusion Travels by Streetcar, Viridiana, Belle de Jour, and The Exterminating Angel, his final Mexican film which, like The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, revolves around a dinner party. What ensues is typically black Buñuelian comedy: a group of upper-class friends gather in a baroque villa for a post-theater supper, but a mysterious force prevents them from leaving the premises. As hours and then days pass, the media—unable to enter—gather outside the gates while inside civilization vanishes as the captives drink water from the pipes, kill and eat a sheep, dabble in witchcraft, commit adultery, and burn the furniture. Buñuel decorates this vision of hell with hallucinations, scenes that repeat, and characters that say and do the most inexplicable things in the most normal way. Though The Exterminationg Angel is a phrase that appears in the book of the Apocalypse, Buñuel chose it as a title because, he writes, “if I saw The Exterminating Angel on a marquee, I would go in and see it on the spot.” A perennial favorite of LACMA audiences, the film first screened in our "Buñuel in Mexico" series in 1998 and again in 2004, 2007 and 2010.
Bing Theater | $5 admission | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.