Monday, September 15, 2008

The Exterminating Angel

A screenprint inspired by a surrealist film about bourgeoisie cultural entrapment, by Luis Bunuel, that I viewed in my Surrealism and Film class. I wrote a rallying essay on the subject, too.

Some essay highlights:
...Bunuel takes the theme of possession from the sexual to a class reading of such, the bourgeoisie possessed by their possessions, trapped in trappings.

Through the majority of the film, the guests are trapped in the music room, unable to leave despite pressing appointments and plans for secret trysts. The first evening there are dozens of good reasons to leave, and even if they stay, there are guest rooms more comfortable than the floor, but no one seems to muster the will to budge an inch out of the door.

The enclosed space becomes a metaphor for an inescapable belief system. Nothing physical holds any of the characters in place, and yet they are still unable to escape, they starve and suffer and see their ideals and pretensions collapse around them like so much hot air, and yet they cannot simply step outside, remove themselves from the situation.

Visibility is the most important signifier for the bourgeoisie, and it is what gives validity to their privilege. It is, in a way of speaking, their ticket into the exclusive club. Having vast wealth is a secondary consideration to showing that wealth, in ostentatious display. The reality of bourgeois spaces is that only certain things happen in an open, visible space. For the system of respectability to hold up, some things must be kept out of sight. Certain actions are regulated to private spaces, not to be shown or discussed. ...

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