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Exterminating Angel
     

Exterminating Angel

4.4 14
Director: Luis Buñuel

Cast: Silvia Pinal, Jacqueline Andere, Jose Baviera

 

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Luis Bunuel's wicked, ambiguous tale of a bourgeois dinner party gone rather remarkably wrong has finally become available on DVD in North America in an excellent edition from the Criterion Collection. El Angel Exterminador (aka The Exterminating Angel) has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with the image

Overview

Luis Bunuel's wicked, ambiguous tale of a bourgeois dinner party gone rather remarkably wrong has finally become available on DVD in North America in an excellent edition from the Criterion Collection. El Angel Exterminador (aka The Exterminating Angel) has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with the image slightly window-boxed to make the full picture visible on all screens. The picture quality is just slightly below Criterion's usually high standards; while the image is clean of blemishes and as sharp as possible, the image in the early reels sometimes looks a bit streaky, which appears to be a fault in the processing of the source materials rather than any flaws in the transfer, though as the picture grows darker and moodier, Gabriel Figueroa's shadowy cinematography looks noticeably better. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and sounds good, though a bit tinny, again a fault of the original recording rather than any flaws in Criterion's transfer. The dialogue is in Spanish, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. The feature and the film's original theatrical trailer appear on disc one of this set, while disc two features The Last Script: Remembering Luis Bunuel, a charming feature-length documentary in which Juan Bunuel, the director's son, visits a number of the cities where the great surrealist lived and worked, including Madrid, Toledo, Paris, Hollywood, New York and Mexico City, while talking to his friends and collaborators. One of the people who chats with Juan Bunuel in The Last Script is actress Silvia Pinal, who also sits for a short interview shot exclusively for this disc, while the disc also includes another interview with producer and director Arturo Ripstein, who was an observer on the set of The Exterminating Angel as a teenager. A beautifully designed booklet, featuring an essay by Marsha Kinder and excerpts from mid-Seventies interviews with Luis Bunuel, fills out a superb set that treats one of the crown jewels of Bunuel's Mexican period as the treasure it truly is.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
As a son of old money who later fell on hard times and embraced Marxism, Luis Buñuel had a well-earned contempt for the idle rich, and he rarely put it to better use than in El Angel Exterminador. While the opening titles, in which Buñuel coyly proclaims that the film has no literal meaning, seem a perverse challenge, one can watch the film at face value and practically hear the wicked old surrealist chuckling at the fate of his clueless upper-crust types, whose baffling inability to go home confounds all logic but their own. With the inexplicable going on all around them, their puzzlement may not be quite so difficult to understand -- What are the sheep and the bear doing there? What do the servants know that caused them all to leave? -- but the outside world seems to have fallen in line with the delusion: as family, friends, police, and casual onlookers keep watch over the mansion, no one has the courage to go inside. After all, these people have money and power, and if they think they can't come out, there must be some reason why. While the characters seem benignly absurd in the film's early stages, they seem at once dangerous, pathetic, and darkly hilarious as they devolve into animalistic barbarism. Buñuel did not have much use for pity, and he never expends a drop for his characters here. Packed with dark, offhand humor, casually bizarre images, twisted dream sequences (including one that seems to refer to Buñuel's alleged contributions to the B-horror opus The Beast With Five Fingers), and a simple but deceptively intelligent visual style, El Angel Extermindor is the sort of film that only Buñuel could have made; along with Los Olvidados, it's the finest of his Mexican films, and an ideal warm-up for the triumphs of his last period, especially Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie, with which it would make a superb double bill.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/10/2009
UPC:
0715515035026
Original Release:
1962
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
27,119

Special Features

Disc 1: ; New, restored high-definition digital transfer; Theatrical trailer; New and inproved English subtitle translation; ; Disc 2:; The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel, a 2008 documentary featuring screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and director Juan Luis Buñuel; New interviews with actress Silvia Pinal and filmmaker Arturo Ripstein; Plus: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Marsha Kinder and an interview with Buñuel from the 1970s

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Silvia Pinal Letitia, the Valkyrie
Jacqueline Andere Senora Alicia Roc
Jose Baviera Leandro
Augusto Benedico Doctor
Luis Beristain Christian
Antonio Bravo Russell
Enrique Rambal Nobile
Enrico Garcia Alvarez Senor Roc
Javier Loya Francisco Avila
Claudio Brook Majordomo
Rosa Elena Durgel Silvia
Lucy Gallardo Lucia
Ofelia Guilmain Juana Avita
Tito Junco Raul
Ofelia Montesco Beatriz
Pancho Córdova Actor
Chel Lopez Actor
Bertha Moss Leonora

Technical Credits
Luis Buñuel Director,Screenwriter
Gustavo Alatriste Producer
Luis Alcoriza Screenwriter
Jesus Bracho Art Director
Gabriel Figueroa Cinematographer
Raúl Lavista Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Armando Meyer Makeup
Pietro Domenico Paradisi Score Composer
Juan Munoz Ravelo Special Effects
Carlos Savage Editor
Georgette Somohano Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Exterminating Angel - Feature Film
1. Short Staffed [7:59]
2. First Course [3:21]
3. The Guests [4:56]
4. Overstayed Welcome [7:26]
5. Morning [3:42]
6. Trapped [5:05]
7. Need for Action [7:29]
8. Second Night [3:39]
9. Survival [:01]
10. Unbearable Circumstances [10:22]
11. The Hand [5:03]
12. More Challenges [3:04]
13. Sacrifices [5:31]
14. Chaos [4:24]
15. "Every Man for Himself" [4:06]
16. Solution [4:02]
17. Freedom [7:41]
18. Something Wrong [1:14]
19. Repeat [2:46]
Disc #2 -- The Exterminating Angel - Supplemental Material
1. Calanda [6:35]
2. Saragossa [4:56]
3. The Residence (Madrid) [8:10]
4. The Order of Toledo [4:38]
5. The Surrealists (Paris) [17:02]
6. The Republic [7:47]
7. New York [:01]
8. Los Angeles [4:22]
9. The Return of a Filmmaker (Mexico City) [5:06]
10. Cannes [13:44]
11. Tristana [3:25]
12. Amusements [6:22]
13. An Obsession With Death [6:50]
14. "I, Buñuel" [3:00]

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Criterion Collection: Exterminating Angel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
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