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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colinr0380
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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#26 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:51 pm

mteller wrote:Not really. Great, yet ANOTHER career retrospective doc on Bunuel. And another Pinal interview.
But surely the Pinal interviews will be more related to these films than Viridiana! :wink:

And the documentaries look like they will be exploring different facets of Buñuel's career. According to mifunesamurai's review on imdb of A Mexican Buñuel: "This documentary covers the years Luis Bunuel spent in Mexico making over 21 films. In a short time of 57 minutes they brushed over his efforts and sometimes dwelling on his more important films such as my favourite LOS OLVIDADOS (1950) & SIMON DEL DESIERTO (1965).", so it seems relevant that this documentary turns up on Simon Of The Desert, especially as that imdb commenter goes on to mention his disappointment that the film doesn't go into much detail on Viridiana.

I'm glad these extremely important Buñuel gaps have been filled on DVD - now we can start lobbying for the rarer film miless talks about.

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

#27 Post by Cinephrenic » Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:05 pm

It would have been nice to see a seperate short release of Las Hurdes, but I take it that Criterion doesn't have the rights (Kino?). I hope they roll out Tristana soon.

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

#28 Post by miless » Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:11 pm

Cinephrenic wrote:I hope they roll out Tristana soon.
Tristana and Nazarin would, to my mind, be the next candidates for release (unless Belle de Jour's rights somehow find their way to Criterion)

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

#29 Post by skeets kelly » Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:25 pm

exterminating angel was my first bunuel and probably my favorite. i've had a crappy vhs dub for years.

i am beyond excited.

beyond, beyond.

so...hooray!

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

#30 Post by Taketori Washizu » Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:01 am

I was just inquiring on here recently when Simon of the Desert would be released and now it happens. I am psyched. Can't wait for both!

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

#31 Post by Awesome Welles » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:17 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?
Cox voted for the following in the 2002 Sight and Sound film poll:

1. Citizen Kane (Welles)
2. The Devils (K. Russell)
3. The Exterminating Angel (Buñuel)
4. King Kong (Cooper, Schoedsack)
5. The Mattei Affair (Rosi)
6. O Lucky Man! (Anderson)
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick)
8. Throne of Blood (Kurosawa)
9. The Wages of Fear (Clouzot)
10. The War Game (Watkins)

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

#32 Post by geoffcowgill » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:28 pm

A couple of years ago I decided to give the whole Dark Side of the Moon / Wizard of Oz synchronicity legend a go. Disappointed at the lack of unity the pairing created, I felt that any visually rich film and sonically busy album would pair up just as well. To put my premise to the test, I chose to match an album and film that were, to start with, approximately the same length. Do stoners leave for Cheetos before realizing that Wizard of Oz is about twice as long as the Pink Floyd record? I played Simon of the Desert while listening to The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Let me tell you in all sincerity that the result was edifying beyond my hopes. Not only does the music, shifting frequently as it does from airy and meditative to aggressive, match the varieties of Simon's temptations, but the lyrics often comment surprisingly well on the film. The movie ends a few minutes before the album, but the last track, an instrumental, makes for nice exit music.

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skuhn8
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Re: 459-460 The Exterminating Angel and Simon of the Desert

#33 Post by skuhn8 » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:32 pm

geoffcowgill wrote:A couple of years ago I decided to give the whole Dark Side of the Moon / Wizard of Oz synchronicity legend a go. Disappointed at the lack of unity the pairing created, I felt that any visually rich film and sonically busy album would pair up just as well. To put my premise to the test, I chose to match an album and film that were, to start with, approximately the same length. Do stoners leave for Cheetos before realizing that Wizard of Oz is about twice as long as the Pink Floyd record? I played Simon of the Desert while listening to The Flaming Lips' Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Let me tell you in all sincerity that the result was edifying beyond my hopes. Not only does the music, shifting frequently as it does from airy and meditative to aggressive, match the varieties of Simon's temptations, but the lyrics often comment surprisingly well on the film. The movie ends a few minutes before the album, but the last track, an instrumental, makes for nice exit music.
I was a bit on the fence regarding this release, but I have to confess that my curiosity about this pairing (big fan of that F. Lips album) secures the deal, though this probably falls under 'doing the right thing for the wrong reasons'.

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

#34 Post by Steven H » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:24 pm

Narshty wrote:
domino harvey wrote:I would have loved to see an Alex Cox intro on The Exterminating Angel though.
Definitely! And for what its worth, I would have loved to have seen a Bunuel intro to Walker, heh.

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

#35 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:53 pm

I'm especially looking forward to upgrading a rancidly cruddo vhs of Simon, which has one of the most satisfyingly ambiguous endings in all of cinema... no other ending ever hit me with such a HUH? then such a "Oooo YEAHHH!!!!" as the ending of Simon. It's a fantastic and deliciously dark parable. Personally I find it more satisfying to my sensibilities than Viridiana.

I sorta take exception to CC's calling it a Surrealist piece, though. It's got a couple of fantastic moments, but I'm not sure the film is capital S Surrealist Cinema. I dunno, I'm certainly no expert on Surrealism, but I'm not sure if a surreal moment or two in the narrative = Surrealist Cinema.

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

#36 Post by zedz » Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:50 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:I sorta take exception to CC's calling it a Surrealist piece, though. It's got a couple of fantastic moments, but I'm not sure the film is capital S Surrealist Cinema. I dunno, I'm certainly no expert on Surrealism, but I'm not sure if a surreal moment or two in the narrative = Surrealist Cinema.
I looked up my Guide to Half-Assed Film Criticism Clichés (an appendix to the latest edition of Flaubert's Dictionnaire des idées reçues) and found that this is apparently correct: anything ever directed by Bunuel is automatically Surrealist. Also anything including a dream sequence or shot with a fish-eye lens.

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

#37 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:27 pm

I know. I was watching Ida von Van der pepterluben's "How To Lift the Nose and Spout More 'isms' than Strickfadden-Lab noise", and they quoted that. Yet it confuses things by also saying:

We quote (I refer to myself in the plural because-- well-- Ida says it's Grand):

"..urf durf the Serious Man must be armed in the mind with whatever is written by Criterion, to be repeated as 'twad from those who frankly Don't Know'.. and proclaim the opposite to be true, being a 'real cinephile' not 'led by the nose' into the pit of 'intellectual consumerism'".

So, in other words.. I Just Don't Know.

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

#38 Post by videozor » Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:53 pm

The Exterminating Angel will be only the second double disk of Bunuel in CC. And still not a single commentary track... Is there a reason for this?

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

#39 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:56 pm

See the previous page.

And the reason for the lack of commentary is quite clear: to frustrate D Harvey.

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

#40 Post by magicmarker » Fri Nov 21, 2008 4:29 pm

I'm not sure if this has been posted elsewhere, but Peter Becker has kind of addressed the lack of Bunuel commentaries in a round-about way here: http://www.newcitychicago.com/chicago/886.html
"We spend a lot of time talking about appropriateness. Buñuel [whose "Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" lacks a commentary] is not the first or only case where we have been reticent about commentaries. It's like when we were preparing the [three-film Jean] Cocteau boxed set, we were all reading a lot of what he had written. These essays were circulating among the staff, and it's always like that, everyone learning a lot about Cocteau, about Hitchcock, whoever's work is in front of us. We got a distinct sense from these essays that explanation was antithetical to Cocteau's ideal of beauty. So we decided that no one was going to talk about Cocteau's work but Cocteau. We searched for what he said about his work. On a much more reticent front, when we did 'Picnic at Hanging Rock,' Peter Weir said, no commentary. He said, This is a film about the unexplained and the unexplainable. that's the whole point! As soon as I try to make sense of it, it's the one thing that could ruin the movie! That was good enough for us. We didn't even put a note on the packaging. I think people respect that."

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

#41 Post by nsps » Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:01 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:I sorta take exception to CC's calling it a Surrealist piece, though. It's got a couple of fantastic moments, but I'm not sure the film is capital S Surrealist Cinema. I dunno, I'm certainly no expert on Surrealism, but I'm not sure if a surreal moment or two in the narrative = Surrealist Cinema.
It depends on how narrow or broadly you want to define surrealism.I think that much of Buñuel's work takes on a surreal tone simply due to his sensibility and approach. Much of his Mexican-era work takes on these characteristics through exaggerated character traits and obsessions, without any of the "fantastic moments" you describe. For example, Susana has no actual fantastical elements (if my memory serves), yet holds a nightmarish quality as it depicts the crumbling facade of a happy family life. If you adhere strictly to the principles of irrational juxtaposition of images, it may not qualify, but I think that irrational behavior crossed against rational reality (see also El) also constitutes surrealism.

In the case of SImon, the title characters' behavior and even his physical orientation in the scene feels more at home in dream than in reality, as is his interaction with everyone else. So I think CC has it right on this one. That said, it's been a while since I saw the film on 16-mm, so I'm looking forward to watching it again.

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

#42 Post by GringoTex » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:19 pm

We got a distinct sense from these essays that explanation was antithetical to Cocteau's ideal of beauty. So we decided that no one was going to talk about Cocteau's work but Cocteau.
This may be true of Cocteau, but I've always found Bunuel an extremely poor commentator on his own work. I love his thoughts on everything else, but his views of his own films are practically worthless. Much like John Ford's.

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

#43 Post by bunuelian » Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:01 am

The labeling of everything Bunuel did as Surrealist can only be attributed to the fact that he was, in fact, a Surrealist in the historical sense of the word. Taking Surrealism as a living thing, rather than a historical and dead curiosity that was smashed by another fine war, Bunuel was certainly a Surrealist unto death.

Personally, I think it's an error to ask, "Was this or that film of Bunuel's Surrealist?" It's better to say, "Bunuel made this film, how does it change my understanding of Surrealism?" But don't expect Bunuel to have fallen into a trough of ideology formed in Paris, he was far too extraordinary for that. Even his most commercial films in Mexico were suffused with Surrealism's lens. Name one film of his that didn't explore sexual desire and guilt, for example.

Surrealism can be misunderstood as something that necessarily needs to be psychedelic, for which we can probably blame Dali, that brilliant aborted fetus of a whore, and the broader meaning of the term "surreal" in our language today and drug culture intersecting with art culture so much. David Lynch isn't a Surrealist, though his films are described as such, and I expect he'd happily agree with me (I'd love to sit down with him to chat about it sometime). Svankmajer, on the other hand, is in a very strict sense a Surrealist, because he explores the same themes that the historical Surrealist movement, and Bunuel throughout his career, explored.

I've looked forward to this set for ages and will buy it even if I have to fight my way through the coming food riots, using my pirated El Topo disc as a weapon to slice throats in pursuit of my consumerist objective.

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

#44 Post by Ovader » Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:25 am

bunuelian wrote:I've looked forward to this set for ages and will buy it even if I have to fight my way through the coming food riots, using my pirated El Topo disc as a weapon to slice throats in pursuit of my consumerist objective.
That is a great surrealistic gesture! Bravo! =D>

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

#45 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Nov 27, 2008 1:07 am

Much of what Bunuel does reminds me of absurdism more than surrealism -- but I'm not certain that he had any direct links to this other intellectual wave....

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

#46 Post by mteller » Fri Nov 28, 2008 6:13 am

bunuelian wrote:Name one film of his that didn't explore sexual desire and guilt, for example.
Robinson Crusoe. and, IIRC, Mexican Bus Ride.

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

#47 Post by GringoTex » Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:59 am

mteller wrote:
bunuelian wrote:Name one film of his that didn't explore sexual desire and guilt, for example.
Robinson Crusoe. and, IIRC, Mexican Bus Ride.
Crusoe, yes. But Subida al cielo is all about sexual desire and guilt.

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

#48 Post by Florinaldo » Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:49 pm

GringoTex wrote:
mteller wrote:
bunuelian wrote:Name one film of his that didn't explore sexual desire and guilt, for example.
Robinson Crusoe. and, IIRC, Mexican Bus Ride.
Crusoe, yes. But Subida al cielo is all about sexual desire and guilt.
Robinson Crusoe is rife with sexual tension, mostly in a mode of frustration mode (normal, after all those years alone...). It all culminates in the scene where Friday puts on a dress, to the confused outrage of Crusoe.

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

#49 Post by Ovader » Sat Nov 29, 2008 11:38 pm

Narshty wrote:I would have loved to see an Alex Cox intro on The Exterminating Angel though.
This may help a bit.

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

#50 Post by zone_resident » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:49 am

Beaver on Simon of the Desert

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