Tuesday, 3 April 2012
The Exterminating Angel 
The Exterminating Angel, which competes with quite a few films in the great Spanish screen surrealist Luis Bunuel’s oeuvre, was the final feature film that he made in Mexico, which was his adopted homeland for quite a few years. The movie, which forms a terrific companion piece with The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (the two make for a truly superb double bill on account of their striking thematic similarities), which he made a decade later, was a brilliant work in the domains of surrealism and social satire. A group of wealthy people, representing diverse careers, lives and types, have gathered for a formal dinner party. Post dinner, they retire to the drawing room for casual chitchat and cocktail; however, strangely, when it starts getting late, instead of leaving for their respective homes, they decide to spend the night there itself. Before long we realize that the motley crowd, in essence, has been ‘locked’ in that room – despite there being no blocked doors, they somehow cannot leave the room. Thus, trapped with hardly any food or water, their cheerful and at times pompous demeanours start getting stripped off, and what we find under their veneers of aristocracy and thoroughbred natures, irrationality, hatred, treachery, anarchy, savagery, barbarism, and such baser instincts. Not just a searing examination of human behaviour filled with lashing humour and wry observations, it was also a sly and delectable commentary on class divisions – and more specifically, a satirical caricature of the bourgeoisie and the upper class. Poignant and darkly funny in equal measures, this wonderfully enacted absurdist comedy remains a dizzying masterpiece of world cinema.
Director: Luis Bunuel
Genre: Comedy/Black Comedy/Social Satire/Comedy of Manners/Avant-Garde