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Film / The Exterminating Angel

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"The best explanation of this film is that, from the standpoint of pure reason, there is no explanation."
—The film's preface

The Exterminating Angel (El ángel exterminador) is a 1962 film directed by Luis Buñuel. It tells the story of a group of friends arriving at the house of a wealthy society couple for a lavish dinner...who then find themselves unable to leave. This causes confusion which leads to desperation, panic and brutality.

"Los tropes exterminador":

  • Asshole Victim: Take your pick. The characters are not meant to be sympathetic.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In-Universe, things are introduced that make no sense. For example, the hostess is forced to cancel an after-dinner entertainment that apparently involves a bear and two sheep. What the animals were going to do is never explained.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The sheep and bear in the kitchen. Initially presented as a surreal gag, they later escape into the foyer and provide the guests with some food in the second act.
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  • Driven to Suicide: Beatriz and Eduardo.
  • Here We Go Again!: Though, considering what had happened before and who the writer/director is...
  • Jump Cut: The film deliberately depicts the guests arriving at the front door twice, a hint of the Mind Screw to come.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Buñuel took the title from a line in an unfinished play his friend José Bergamin had been writing. When Buñuel asked it he could use it, Bergamin said yes since he couldn't claim credit for it, since he took it from The Book of Revelation.
  • Locked in a Room: It's the central scenario of the whole movie - except the room's not actually locked. The party goers simply can't leave. When one guest humorously threatens to push another guest out, the latter barks "Try it, and I'll kill you."
  • Mind Screw: Check the page quote.
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  • Only Sane Man: Dr. Carlos Conde, who is the only one who is able to stay calm amidst all the panic and fear surrounding him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The housekeeping staff leave early, feeling a sense of foreboding and dread they can't explain. They're proven justified as the film goes on.
  • Surreal Humor: It is Buñuel, after all.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Sergio Russell is a considerate gentleman who harshly rebukes his partygoers for laughing at a servant's misfortune. He's the first to die as a result of his age.