A wealthy couple's dinner party takes an unexpected turn when
the guests find that they can no longer leave the room in
which they are standing. As the food and water run out the
guests' behaviour becomes increasingly extreme as they attempt
to dig through the walls to get water and summon the devil.
It is a dinner which not all the guests will survive...
There can't be many people who can say that Luis Brunel gave
them nightmares as a teenager. Having taken, my then, partner
to see David Bowie play at Wembley, the concert started with
a showing of Brunel's nineteen twenty-nine surrealist film
Un Chien Andalou, which he made in conjunction with
Salvadore Dali. Although the film is very short, around sixteen
minutes, it was the graphic slicing of an eyeball, a visual
so unexpected and shocking in a film of its age, which made
an indelible mark on me. I had to find out who the creators
were and if anyone else was making films like this, such began
my love for the strange and bizarre. Though few would be brave
enough to explore the world as Brunel had until the advent
of David Lynch.
created a whole body of work, which both examined and ridiculed
what he saw as the artifice of civilisation and religion;
there were few subjects even at the fringes of human behaviour,
which didn't come under his keen gaze. As the Marquise De
Sade had influenced the existentialists, he also found an
adherent in Brunel, most notably in his film Belle de Jour
Exterminating Angel (1962) played with another of Brunel's
favourite themes, that civilisation and manners are just the
lies that we tell each other to hide our animalistic inner
self. As such, it is very similar in thrust and structure
to Jean-Paul Sartre's play Huis Clos (No Exit),
both men obviously held the contention that Hell really is
film starts on an odd note, having arranged a dinner party,
the servants leave before it begins, much to the chagrin of
the hostess. However she makes the best of a bad situation
and things seem to be going well, that is until the guests
retire to the drawing room where, as my other half would say:
"It's all goes David Lynch on them".
Initially hints of the bizarre are little more than teasers
until the party comes to an close and the guests find that
they cannot leave, it is not as if some barrier has thwarted
their exit, they cannot leave just because they cannot leave.
Reason and logic have been left at the door, as trapped in
the room, they try and do the best they can but the pressure
of close contact soon starts to break down the rules, which
govern their social cohesion. In the days that follow, with
no food or water, death and madness take many of the guests.
is Brunel at his cruellest. His obvious dislike for the bourgeoisies
of Spanish society punches through just like the titles exterminating
angel, using his wrath to expose, what he sees, as every one
of their hypocrisies. They are monkeys scrabbling in the sh*t
of their own making. It's not always an easy film to watch,
and for a modern audience Brunel's lack of explanation can
be somewhat perplexing, but without a doubt it is one of Brunel's
The disc is not without its faults, presented in 4.3 mono,
the print has obviously seen better days. That said once you
get past the initial title screen the picture settles down
quite nicely and the majority of the print is in quite good
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