This is one of Luis Bunuel seminal films from his Mexican period …
“The Exterminating Angel” (1962) is a macabre comedy, a mordant view of human nature that suggests we harbor savage instincts and unspeakable secrets. Take a group of prosperous dinner guests and pen them up long enough, he suggests, and they’ll turn on one another like rats in an overpopulation study.
Speaking with Addison (my new 20 year old intern) this morning, forced me examine my own relationship to the worlds of theatre, design, fashion, advertising, sculpture, painting and film. It made me realize how much they relate to surrealism and in particular the two films we watched Monday night. I started to talk about how I feel this surrealistic film fits into the larger world of art. This brought to mind to the early films of Cocteau, then Man Ray, the surreal world of Edward James (who supported Dali for awhile). I began to fit numerous slices into the art pie. The provocative, mysterious paintings of Magritte were declared to “mean nothing” and the scandalous found scultures of Duchamp shocking the world with his bicycle wheel and the urinal then the work of the “La Lannes” in France. Claude’s jewelry and sculpture incorporating mouths, breasts, and cabbage headed figures. Francios with his purple life size Hippopotamus bathtubs (Mrs. Duchamp owned one) and his fountain that features a huge head with water coming out of its eyes like tears. Now, I’m thinking of the controversial photographer Guy Bourdin whom I met in the mid 70’s. His art had a strong connection to Bunuels early films. As I began to fit pieces together more elements start to collide… Even my good friend Richard Elfman’s film “The Forbidden Zone” shot in Venice, CA thirty-five years ago , and his surreal dinner parties that I documented owe a debt to Bunuel. As I spoke with Addison this morning, I looked at some of the many connections I was weaving into our conversation and although the impact of this film on her may not really be felt for years to come, these two films caused more mental activity within me than any others we have viewed.
Man Ray Magritte
Portrait of Edward James by Magritte Edward James
The Forbidden Zone by Richard Elfman
Posted in Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dali
Tagged Bonaventura Ibanez, Caridad de Laberdesque, Duchange, Gaston Modot, Germaine Noizet, Josep Llorens Artigas, Lionel Salem, Lya Lys, Max Ernst, Pierre Batcheff, Simone Mareuil
9 - BELLE DE JOUR, by Luis Buñuel - 1967