The Exterminating Angel

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(1962, directed by Luis Buņuel)

- inducted 2015 –

"Luis Bunuel returned to Mexico in exile, a man without a country, for this scathing masterwork, the first in a string of unending masterpieces churned out late in his career. The film is equal parts bourgeois parody and fascist critique. A group of well-to-do socialites gather (twice in a surrealist touch of repetitive scenes) for an evening of food, drink, and banal dinner conversation. Over the course of the evening, folks find themselves unable to leave the gathering. A mysterious force compels the guests to remain and before we know it, all manner of social grace and etiquette goes out the window. Days elapse, and soon people are clawing at the walls for a drop of water.

"Bunuel loved the dinner setting as it pertained to the bourgeoisie and he returned it often in his work. The concept that this setting helped provide a facade for these people to hide behind, a means to mask their shallow and uninteresting lives was something he couldn't get enough of. People could sit around a table and remark at how good the food was, or critique the wine as means of not having to hold any sort of high minded intellectual conversation. Under the suits and gowns, these people were disgusted Bunuel and he took every opportunity to pull back the curtain to reveal the perversion and hypocrisy that so often remained out of view.

"Hilarious, bizarre, and with an air of almost ethereal grace, The Exterminating Angel remains a one-of-kind experience in the history of cinema. A more than worthy addition to this year's Hall of Fame inductees, it embodies an anarchist spirit sorely underrepresented in the pantheon of World Cinema."

~ Adam Lemke

Original title: El Angel Exterminador
Principal cast: Silvia Pinal, Enrique Rambal, Claudio Brook, Jose Baviera, Augusto Benedico, Antonio Bravo, Jacqueline Andere, Cesar del Campo, Rosa Elena Durgel, Lucy Gallardo, Enrique Garcia Alvarez, Ofelia Guilmain, Nadia Haro Oliva, Tito Junco, Xavier Loya, Xavier Masse, Ofelia Montesco, Luis Beristain, Patricia Moran, Patricia de Morelos, Bertha Moss
Screenplay by: Luis Buņuel, Luis Alcoriza (uncredited)
Based on a play by Jose Bergamin (uncredited)
Produced by: Gustavo Alatriste
Cinematography by: Gabriel Figueroa
Production design by: Jesus Bracho
Costume design by: Georgette Somohano
Film editing by: Carlos Savage
Music by: Raul Lavista, with additional music by Pietro Domenico Paradisi and Domenico Scarlatti
Makeup artist: Armando Meyer
Hair stylist: Esperanza Gomez
Sound by: Galdino R. Samperio (sound recording engineer), Abraham Cruz (sound editor), Jose B. Carles, James L. Fields
Titles designed by: Nicolas Rueda Jr.
Special effects by: Juan Muņoz Ravelo

Duration: 95 minutes
Languages: Spanish
Filmed in black and white
Sound mix: Mono (RCA Sound System)
Aspect ratio: 1:85 (intended ratio)
Printed film format: 35mm

Produced by Producciones Gustavo Alatriste
Released in USA by Altura Films International
USA release date: 10 September 1963

Awards and honors:
- Selected as one of Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies,” 11 May 1997
- Cannes Film Festival, 1962: Palme d’Or (nominated)