He passed away earlier this week.
Here’s an interview with some of this thoughts on filmmaking. I admire him and his work a great deal, but don’t agree with everything he says:
(NSFW for language)
I laughed so so so hard. I saw this last night at a screening in Chicago that was curated by Jim Vendiola.
My brother and his girlfriend were raving about this when I visited them in Germany in August and I’ve been dying to see it since then. Well, it’s at the Music Box this week and the local foreign film meetup group planned an outing. Man did I love this film. It grabs you by the throat and never let’s go, easing up only for a few minutes near the middle before taking off again.
It’s one that’s stayed with me too, at least over the past few days. I feel like I knew the characters intimately and it’s almost so much to process that only now is it sinking in emotionally.
A lot of the hype around the film was that it was shot all in one take. They did it three times and used the best one, working off of a “script” that was about 12 pages, so the dialogue was mostly improvised. I’m kind of on the fence about the one-take thing — maybe for an unexpected reason. It works brilliantly and never felt like a gimmick to me. I think if you didn’t know about it going in, then you probably wouldn’t think about it until after the movie was over or maybe midway though, wondering “wait, have they cut yet?” The story’s that good though, that you don’t check out to think about the technical stuff.
The reason I’m on the fence is that I think that it’s so good that it didn’t need to be in one take. Not that they shouldn’t have done it that way. Maybe what I’m saying is that I wish that didn’t have to be part of the marketing of it — I mean, it has to be part of the marketing because it’s a big deal and you want people to see it and the one-take thing helps. But I wish that people would just see it because it’s such a damn good film. Maybe you can’t separate them. I don’t know. I’m rambling.
I kept thinking throughout how spot on the acting was, and how well they captured a compressed courtship, when two people, both a little drunk, meet in a night and end up spending the night (or more) together. It wasn’t cutesy and compact. It was natural and tenuous and playful and really well done.
Left me with an aching feeling, in a good way. Just fucking see it, in a theater preferably.
Bunuel belongs to a group of great directors who obsessively reworked the themes that haunted them. There is little stylistically to link Ozu, Hitchcock, Herzog, Bergman, Fassbinder or Bunuel, except for this common thread: Some deep wound or hunger was imprinted on them early in life, and they worked all of their careers to heal or cherish it.
– Roger Ebert on The Exterminating Angel
Then, in a series of subtle developments, it becomes apparent that no one can leave. They make preliminary gestures. They drift toward the hallway. There is nothing to stop them. But they cannot leave. They never exactly state that fact; there is an unspoken, rueful acceptance of the situation, as they make themselves comfortable on sofas and rugs.
This is a brilliant opening for an insidious movie. The tone is low key, but so many sinister details have accumulated that by the time the guests settle down for the night, Bunuel has us wrapped in his spell.
– Roger Ebert on The Exterminating Angel
God I loved this film. And everything else I’ve seen by Bunuel. The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie is still my favorite.
Such a funny movie. Great parody of the James Bond-type genre, like Archer meets The Pink Panther. I love anything with a bumbling French protagonist, one of my favorite characters to watch and play. Really beautiful composition and art direction too.
It sort of straddles the line between parody and satire — jokey enough to be a parody but with a definite message about Western ignorance in meddling with the Muslim world. And the chauvinism and “overt-but-playful-racism” (for lack of a better term) is so funny and done in a way that you know they’re making fun of it. And it’s distributed by Chicago’s own Music Box Films.
Smart, silly, and very funny. Highly recommended (Amazon // Netflix streaming).