459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

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Jeff
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459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#1 Post by Jeff » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:37 pm

The Exterminating Angel

Image [img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/1529/459_box_348x490_w128.jpg[/img]

A group of high-society friends are invited to a mansion for dinner and inexplicably find themselves unable to leave in The Exterminating Angel (El ángel exterminador), a daring masterpiece from Luis Buñuel. Made just one year after his international sensation Viridiana, this film, full of eerie, comic absurdity, furthers Buñuel's wicked takedown of the rituals and dependencies of the frivolous upper classes.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
The Last Script: Remembering Luis Buñuel, a 2008 documentary featuring writer Jean-Claude Carrière and filmmaker Juan Luis Buñuel
• Interviews with actor Silvia Pinal and filmmaker Arturo Ripstein from 2006
• Trailer
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Marsha Kinder and an interview with director Luis Buñuel from the 1970s

Criterionforum.org user rating averages




Simon of the Desert

[img]http://criterion_production.s3.amazonaws.com/release_images/1535/460_box_348x490_w128.jpg[/img]

Simon of the Desert is Luis Buñuel’s wicked and wild take on the life of devoted ascetic Saint Simeon Stylites, who waited atop a pillar surrounded by a barren landscape for six years, six months, and six days, in order to prove his devotion to God. Yet the devil, in the figure of the beautiful Silvia Pinal, huddles below, trying to tempt him down. A skeptic’s vision of human conviction, Buñuel’s short and sweet satire is one of the master filmmaker’s most renowned works of surrealism.

SPECIAL FEATURES

• New, restored high-definition digital transfer
A Mexican Buñuel (1995), 50-minute documentary by Emilio Maillé
• New interview with actress Silvia Pinal
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Michael Wood and a reprinted interview with Buñuel

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

#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:02 pm

Simon's listed at a lower pricepoint than normal, should we expect bad elements?

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

#3 Post by swo17 » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:03 pm

I would assume it's because of the runtime of the film. It's priced the same as Patriotism.

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

#4 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:14 pm

What confuses me is the high pricepoint of Exterminating Angel.

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

#5 Post by Cinephrenic » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:15 pm

domino harvey wrote:Simon's listed at a lower pricepoint than normal, should we expect bad elements?
This is a short film. 40 min

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

#6 Post by Jeff » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:19 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:What confuses me is the high pricepoint of Exterminating Angel.
It's a two-disc set. The documentary runs 90 minutes.

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

#7 Post by domino harvey » Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:51 pm

Bunuel can inspire at least two full-length documentaries but zero commentaries

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

#8 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:47 pm

domino harvey wrote:Bunuel can inspire at least two full-length documentaries but zero commentaries
Sad, but unlike the recent discs these two have some great extras. I thought they'd skimp on them here as previously.

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

#9 Post by Mr Pixies » Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:30 pm

Simon of the Desert is really funny
SpoilerShow
the guy with no arms

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

#10 Post by Zumpano » Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:38 pm

domino harvey wrote:Bunuel can inspire at least two full-length documentaries but zero commentaries
Gotta keep it consistent. There isn't a commentary on any Bunuel Criterion release, why start now?

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

#11 Post by Florinaldo » Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:39 pm

Simon of the Desert would have made such a wonderful pairing with Nazarin. Perhaps the latter will be given the usual Bunuel Criterion treatment one day, meaning a new restored transfer, a documentary... and no commentary of course.

As for The Exterminating Angel, I trust they have used the correct edit of the film. The British DVD eliminated the repetition of the arrival of the guests and I know one person who told me he saw it projected in that incorrect version only a few years ago.

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

#12 Post by justeleblanc » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:04 am

The Janus print that aired on TCM a few years ago did not have the repetition, which made me think the repetition was something added for American audiences.

The US VHS tape from the library had the repetition, along with some weird text on the screen at the beginning which so egregiously tried to sum up the themes of the film and then it credited that to Bunuel.... it couldn't have really been his quote, yes?

I'm waiting for the On Five blog to straiten this out.

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

#13 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:06 am

I can live without any more Bunuel movie commentaries. In fact, I would not want to pay even a dollar extra in order to have such a dubious "benefit". For instance, the commentary on Miramax's Belle du jour is quite irritating -- though the content might well have made a decent short-ish (written or video) essay.

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

#14 Post by domino harvey » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:23 am

Yes, because if there was one bad audio commentary for one of his films in the past, they will all be bad. I understand not liking certain bonus features and their absence having no bearing on your enjoyment, but saying you're glad a certain bonus feature not included even when it wouldn't effect the existing price for you is just churlish.

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

#15 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:39 am

Well, Mr. Harvey -- are you saying that inclusion of a commentary does NOT (often) affect the cost of Criterion releases?

My recollection is different. But I am reluctant to break out the spreadsheets on this.

I simply don't understand commentary fetishism. Criterion can offer an absolutely great release (which provides all the background needed to enjoy a film) -- and people will still whine if there's no commentary.

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

#16 Post by domino harvey » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:46 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:Well, Mr. Harvey -- are you saying that inclusion of a commentary does NOT (often) affect the cost of Criterion releases?

My recollection is different. But I am reluctant to break out the spreadsheets on this.

I simply don't understand commentary fetishism. Criterion can offer an absolutely great release (which provides all the background needed to enjoy a film) -- and people will still whine if there's no commentary.
My point was that this title is already priced for upper-tier and a commentary would not change the price.

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

#17 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:50 am

My point is that this set appears to have excellent extras -- as is.

;~}

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

#18 Post by mteller » Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:42 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:My point is that this set appears to have excellent extras -- as is.
Not really. Great, yet ANOTHER career retrospective doc on Bunuel. And another Pinal interview.

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

#19 Post by Narshty » Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:08 am

domino harvey wrote:Bunuel can inspire at least two full-length documentaries but zero commentaries
Well, if you fetishise commentaries above all other ways of conveying information then I suppose it must be a blow. But Bunuel's technique is so simple and transparent, it's hard to see what would be gained by a play-by-play discussion and an in-depth thematic discussion might well go quickly out of sync. I wouldn't take it as Criterion giving Bunuel the brush-off.

I would have loved to see an Alex Cox intro on The Exterminating Angel though.

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

#20 Post by Person » Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:28 am

Narshty wrote:I would have loved to see an Alex Cox intro on The Exterminating Angel though.
I would, too. Am I right in saying that it is his favourite film?

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

#21 Post by bigP » Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:16 am

Person wrote:
Narshty wrote:I would have loved to see an Alex Cox intro on The Exterminating Angel though.
I would, too. Am I right in saying that it is his favourite film?
I believe so. Here's a quote found on the Guardian website :

"Cox's tastes are as catholic as his creations. At his Liverpool base, he keeps the videos that continue to inspire him. At the top of the heap are 20 by the great surrealist Luis Bunuel. "He's the man. I don't think he ever made a bad film, and most directors do. I like his Mexican films best, in particular The Exterminating Angel, which is his first satire of the bourgeoisie. But Bunuel was really a bourgeois himself, for all that he was an anarchist; he was unfaithful to his wife, he was a wine connoisseur and a gourmand. He was just like Fernando Rey, who always plays the character in his films that is satirised the most."

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

#22 Post by Florinaldo » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:45 pm

justeleblanc wrote:The Janus print that aired on TCM a few years ago did not have the repetition, which made me think the repetition was something added for American audiences.
No it was deliberately planned by Bunuel as a the first in a series of repetitions that pop out throughout the film. In the book of interviews with Colina and al., Objects of Desire, he recounts how he had to put his cinematographer straight, when he thought there had been an editing mistake after watching the final print, although he was of course present at the scene being shot twice with slightly different staging and shot angles. It is present on the Australian DVD I own. Many other sources attest to this repetition being part of the complete movie.

As for commentaries, I don't think it's a question of fetishism when they are illuminating and add to the viewing experiment. The one on the Australian DVD is very good indeed. I haven't watched the Miramax DVD of Belle de Jour so I can't judge how irritating it really is. By contrast, the commentary on the British DVD of that film makes many relevant points.

The thing is, none of the Bunuel Criterions have a commentary, while other lesser directors and titles were deemed worth the effort, sometimes on nearly every title from the same director. And there must be a limit as to how much new and useful biographical or analytical information all these documentaries can bring. Although the one with Carrière and Bunuel's son does look promising.

Simon du Désert would have been a good candidate considering the religious background of the film; such information could add to the enjoyment of the film, as this information may escape contemporary audiences, especially those who were not subjectd to a Catholic education. This and and a short recounting of the budget problems that led to filming being interrupted and the shortened version we have being the definitive one, would have fit quite comfortably within the 45 minutes length.

The documentary, if it is the one by Maillé I think it is, covers the whole of his Mexican career, not this specific movie.

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

#23 Post by swo17 » Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:54 pm

Florinaldo wrote:As for The Exterminating Angel, I trust they have used the correct edit of the film. The British DVD eliminated the repetition of the arrival of the guests and I know one person who told me he saw it projected in that incorrect version only a few years ago.
Criterion lists a runtime of 94 minutes. IMDb says 95. Is this in any way conclusive? This is the extent of my detective skills.

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

#24 Post by Gregory » Sat Nov 15, 2008 2:30 pm

These are both outstanding films and it's a relief to see these announcements at last. Exterminating Angel has a special significance for me because a long time ago it was one of two films that introduced me, via videotape unfortunately, to international art house cinema.

When I saw that Criterion is releasing these two I couldn't help but think how predictable they almost always are. Exterminating Angel and Simón are (along with Los Olvidados) the most written-about entries in Buñuel's Mexican filmography, whereas the others have been all but ignored by the vast majority of critics and scholars. They're also in many ways the least Mexican of his Mexican films, . I'm glad Eclipse exists, otherwise I'd be worried that the other Mexican films would never get released after Criterion cherry-picked these two and perhaps Él. I'll email Mulvaney and see what information they'll offer about plans for any other Buñuel.
Last edited by Gregory on Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

#25 Post by miless » Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:49 pm

I, personally, would love to see a set that includes some of his 'other' Mexican work (that is, not Los Olvidados, Él, El Bruto, Nazarin, etc...)
The films I am specifically interested in are ones that I have never even had the opportunity to see (La Muerte en el jardín, Cela s'appelle l'aurore, El Rio y la muerte, The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, Abismos de pasión, La Illusión viaja en tranvía, etc.). to the best of my knowledge, a few of these have never even made it to VHS.

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