459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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david hare
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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#101 Post by david hare » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:09 pm

There's so much shadow and unrevealed ("hidden") detail in Angel I think this might be seen as Figueroa's John Alton picture.

I don't know if Fig was influenced by Bunuel to shoot with so much shadow but B certainly regrets - needlessly to me - the fact he had to shoot the film in Mexico rather than Europe, as he couldn't find things like the correct linen or napiery to elaborate the class detail of the guests. It still works brilliantly!!

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#102 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:15 pm

zedz wrote:Would have been a nice easter egg for the Criterion disc. Unfortunately, I can't find the video on YouTube.
Is this the one?

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#103 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:15 am

I just saw Simon Of The Desert tonight, and I think it's probably Luis Buñuel's most concise and enjoyable film. The trials and tribulations of the titular Simon are sheer pleasure to watch, and the symbolism is never too obscure. If it weren't for the obnoxious dig-this-crazy-mixed-up-dancing sequence at the end (apparently Buñuel's budget ran out) I wouldn't hesitate to call this a perfect film, but as it stands it's pretty damn good. To be frank, I didn't really "get" the only other Buñuel film I've seen, Discreet Charm...

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#104 Post by magicmarker » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:17 pm

zedz wrote:Watched Simon; went to bed. The next day we wanted to pop on something pleasant but ignorable while doing the housework, so I opted for the unwatched DVD of music videos that came with the 'Matador 15' compilation. Removed the 'Simon' disc from the player, inserted the 'Matador 15' disc. Since we've been on a bit of a New Pornographers binge lately I selected the video for their 'The Laws Have Changed' to start with, and was floored when it proved to be a remake of the last five minutes of Simon of the Desert. It started out as: "Oh, what a coincidence - another guy on a pillar" and rapidly descended into stupefaction. Was Don Luis pulling my tits from the otherworld?

Would have been a nice easter egg for the Criterion disc. Unfortunately, I can't find the video on YouTube.
On the theme of Bunuel inspired music videos from Canadian groups, there is also Esthero's 'Heaven Sent,' invoking Un Chien Andalou. First time I saw Anadlou in University was when this video was making the rounds on MuchMusic, and I remember thinking that all music videos should rip-off avant-garde classics. Can anyone think of other videos inspired in this way?

Anyway, here's the video

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#105 Post by Matt » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:39 pm

You can watch the New Pornographers' video for "The Laws Have Changed" on the Matador site.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#106 Post by videozor » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:38 pm

Could anybody confirm the audio problems with The Exterminating Angel as the are described on DVDBeaver?

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#107 Post by psufootball07 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:43 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:I just saw Simon Of The Desert tonight, and I think it's probably Luis Buñuel's most concise and enjoyable film. The trials and tribulations of the titular Simon are sheer pleasure to watch, and the symbolism is never too obscure. If it weren't for the obnoxious dig-this-crazy-mixed-up-dancing sequence at the end (apparently Buñuel's budget ran out) I wouldn't hesitate to call this a perfect film, but as it stands it's pretty damn good. To be frank, I didn't really "get" the only other Buñuel film I've seen, Discreet Charm...
You say that this is Buñuel's most concise and enjoyable film, yet you state at the end you have only seen 1 other film he made?

I dont quite understand, yes I just finished watching Simon and found that I would rate it up there with Discreet Charm. But if you havent seen Un Chien Andalou, you clearly are missing out on of the most important films in cinematic history. I'd highly recommend you also check out Viridiana before visiting any of the other Criterions, I would label that as his best film.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#108 Post by Murdoch » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:00 am

Just watched The Exterminating Angel and have a question about the ending:
SpoilerShow
Who were the people being killed and who was killing them? Did the churchgoers manage to escape the church and were slaughtered so as to stop the spread of the - I guess you could call it - curse?

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#109 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Aug 01, 2009 1:39 pm

Murdoch wrote:Just watched The Exterminating Angel and have a question about the ending:
SpoilerShow
Who were the people being killed and who was killing them? Did the churchgoers manage to escape the church and were slaughtered so as to stop the spread of the - I guess you could call it - curse?
SpoilerShow
Some sort of social unrest is happening outside the church, a protest or demonstration, and the police are violently putting it down. As far as we as viewers know, the people trapped in the church are still trapped there while the violence occurs around them--and probably soon among them.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#110 Post by jesus the mexican boi » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:17 pm

You can download the "Radioactive Flesh" song from the Simon del Desierto finale (and 19 others) by Mexican rock band Los Sinners here. (The actual title of the song is "Rebelde Radioactivo," here with a studio cut and a live version.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#111 Post by stiroe » Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:41 pm

Where to begin.....finished Simon of the Desert....and I am some what struck in awe as to how it truely fits into a surrealist film. I have studied Un Chien Andalou and think it is by far his best work in the surrealist genre, with the help of Salvador Dali. Now Simon is definitely a hit out at religion (specifically Catholicism) but I struggle to see the surreal besides the obvious. Maybe its a shock of laziness but the devil dressed as a girl not from the same time era, and other themes as cheap surrealism and not true art. I find that the editing effects in Un Chien were so well before their time that it stands out as a genuine Marvel... but Simon is what I see as a tired Bunuel that couldn't get what he wanted so he made due in 46 minutes or less. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the watch but would hardly put this in the same catagory as Un Chien or L'Age d'Or.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#112 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:30 am

Stiroe --

Have you seen any of Bunuel's films other than Simon and his first two?

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#113 Post by tojoed » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:19 am

stiroe wrote:Where to begin.....finished Simon of the Desert....and I am some what struck in awe as to how it truely fits into a surrealist film.
It doesn't really. The Surrealist movement, of which Bunuel was a member, was in the 1930s.
It's a bit like complaining that "The Golden Coach" has nothing of the Popular Front in it.
Bunuel was beyond that movement by the time of "Simon".

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#114 Post by stiroe » Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:25 pm

Bunuel was beyond that movement by the time of "Simon".
That's how I felt but the Criterion release touts it as surrealism and that is where I had the problem. I am not sure whether Bunuel himself found it to be surreal or not and its obviously too late to ask him now. I purchased this thinking I was in for an even better movie than Un Chien with technology as it was at the time of making Simon I guess that is why I felt this way. I see the theme being surreal but the film itself is lacking the effects. I still agree with others that this film was one that was extremely frustrating for him due to contributing factors and he just let it go.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#115 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:28 pm

stiroe wrote:That's how I felt but the Criterion release touts it as surrealism and that is where I had the problem.
Wouldn't it be more logical to have a problem with Criterion's description than with the movie, in this case?

Because of his work with Dali, Bunuel has been labled a surrealist ever since. If this happens not to be true for individual films, should it really be held against them?
stiroe wrote: I see the theme being surreal but the film itself is lacking the effects.
I don't think the theme is surreal, myself. I think the film is a satire on religious fervour, a very successful one, indeed. For all Simon's lofty intents, he's an asshole without a single good word to say about anyone or anything, his own mother included. He pretends to be above mere physical reality, and yet this is a conceit: he is not any less physical by sitting on a pillar, however much he pretends otherwise. Food and water must still be raised up to him and waste lowered down (the latter making for a rather funny scene). Everyone begs him to perform miracles, but gives him not a second thought once the miracles have finished; and the people are quick to turn on him and reveal their own jealousies when the slightest accusation of devil worship is made against him. Holiness and devilishness look much the same in the eyes of the people, and we find they are more likely to suspect the devil than god when good works are performed since, afterall, why should god favour Simon over them? In the end, the devil transports Simon to the future and we discover that his modern counterpart is just an apathetic, bored, likely pseudo-intellectual, drinking alone in a nightclub and no doubt taking satisfaction in his own ennui. One more type who believes himself above the masses.

I think it's more profitable to approach Bunuel as a satirist than a surrealist. I recommend you watch The Exterminating Angel, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeosie, The Phantom of Liberty, and his masterpiece, That Obscure Object of Desire (provided you can get a hold of them). Magnificent films.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#116 Post by stiroe » Sat Jul 24, 2010 4:28 pm

The first Criterion I purchased was That Obscure Object of Desire. I found it to be very speratic and more toward his earlier work as in its possible randomness at points. I agree with the fact Simon is more of a direct slap in the face when it comes to religion and I felt that almost immediately with the miracle preformed and the guy uses his miracle to hit his kid. The devil I believe was to fit the bill of surrealism as in the different eras approached the school girl from the early 1900's or the ending figuring into the time period of the filming. While I 100% agree that it is a satire I still believe they are correct that it had a bit of surrealism but not in the terms of his earlier work or other films thats fit into the genre.
Wouldn't it be more logical to have a problem with Criterion's description than with the movie, in this case?
Yes your right but who would ever blame them.... :lol: So I guess overall it is my folie.

But I will continue to check out his other work. Because of this I truely want to get Viridiana it seems very much along the lines of religious satire. I read about Exterminating Angel and found the overall theme a bit interesting but not enough to make me buy it or even really want to see it.... so maybe this is a chance to sell me on it or not.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#117 Post by bunuelian » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:38 pm

I recommend Belle de Jour as perhaps Bunuel's most accessible film. It's the one I typically show to friends who aren't otherwise much into film. Reading a book or two about Bunuel can deepen your experience of his films tremendously. Exterminating Angel has a strangeness akin to an uncomfortable dream, which ends when you wake yourself laughing.

A lot of the themes Bunuel returned to time and again were (and still are) at the center of the Surrealist artistic movement: Freudian imagery, repressed sexuality and de Sade, images intended to scandalize conservatives, dreams. I think the problem many people have when they look for the "surreal" in Bunuel is a lack of understanding of what Surrealism as a movement strives to do and takes as its inspiration. It's usually a lot more subtle than merely weird or disorienting images that might be called surreal without having much reference to what Surrealism is. This is made more complicated by the fact that the movement itself is either very narrowly defined as 1930's Paris (to the exclusion of offshoots like, i.e., the Czechs) or defined too broadly to include anyone who takes up the banner or has it applied too hastily to them (David Lynch).

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#118 Post by Jerryvonkramer » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:21 pm

I would have said Exterminating Angel was more absurd than surreal, no? If it was a play, it would belong to the Theatre of the Absurd for sure. I don't know why "surrealism" is always preferred in the language of film. I think it is because of the strong surrealist movement of the 30s (Bunuel's own early films).

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#119 Post by mikkelmark » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:08 am

I disagree. Theater of the Absurd from Camus which is more or less existentialism, except that Camus rejected that label (maybe because of his feud with Sartre). Camus always stays on a realistic plane, even in "The Plague", he uses good time on justifying how it is realistic for the plague to strike again (even if only a image of French resistance during Nazi occupation). In the "Exterminating Angel", what adds the surreal is that there's this invisible force keeping them in the house. You could say it's absurd in that they can't leave the house, but I don't think it's absurd in the Camus sense of the word. When I saw the movie, I didn't think of it a existential, but more a more a Bunuel riding one of his old horses, which is attacking the Bourgeois, in particular showing that even in their fine suits, they're still not far from savages.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#120 Post by Jerryvonkramer » Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:21 am

mikkelmark wrote:I disagree. Theater of the Absurd from Camus which is more or less existentialism, except that Camus rejected that label (maybe because of his feud with Sartre). Camus always stays on a realistic plane, even in "The Plague", he uses good time on justifying how it is realistic for the plague to strike again (even if only a image of French resistance during Nazi occupation). In the "Exterminating Angel", what adds the surreal is that there's this invisible force keeping them in the house. You could say it's absurd in that they can't leave the house, but I don't think it's absurd in the Camus sense of the word. When I saw the movie, I didn't think of it a existential, but more a more a Bunuel riding one of his old horses, which is attacking the Bourgeois, in particular showing that even in their fine suits, they're still not far from savages.
Camus was simply a formative influence of the Theatre of the Absurd rather than the thing itself. I'm talking about the plays of Eugene Ionesco, N.F. Simpson, and to some extent Samuel Beckett.

Exterminating Angel bears a particularly close resemblance to the plays of Ioensco and Simpson, in particular Ioenesco's The Bald Primadonna and Simpson's One Way Pendulum and The Resounding Tinkle. These are works that are centred on middle class people in as you say 'realistic' settings but often with an absurd premise. They are social satires picking apart bourgeois hypocrisies and values, similar to those of Bunuel's later career. This is really what I had in mind in my use of the term 'absurd'.

I'd use 'surreal' to describe something like Eraserhead.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#121 Post by mikkelmark » Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:08 am

Then you could be right, I must admit I know only of Camus, and not really anything of the others of the Theatre of the Absurd that you mention. I know Camus and read a wiki page, that probably made me jump to conclusions, I knew that Camus loved the theatre and wrote plays, so I thought Theatre of the Absurd was just Camus mind set in the theatre.

Also it's funny, if I wanted to label Eraserhead, the first thought I have is Avant garde, but I can see that wiki puts it as a surreal movie.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#122 Post by swo17 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:26 pm


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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#123 Post by Finch » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:45 pm

^ Awesome! That announcement alone makes my day.

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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#124 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Nov 09, 2016 6:19 pm


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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#125 Post by Minkin » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:58 pm


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