It is hard to know exactly how solid Luis Buñuel’s cultural capital is these days. The economy of film’s memory is shifting under our feet, and sometimes to be too well remembered can mean one is already half-forgotten. Luckily, Buñuel has reached that point at which he becomes grist for adaptations, something that always buoys one’s reputation.
The Exterminating Angel
Straight-ahead comedies aimed at adults occupy a weird space in the cultural landscape. It’s not that they’re invisible exactly – 2014’s 22 Jump Street stands out, and even The Grand Budapest Hotel essentially fits the bill, if mediated through Wes Anderson’s whimsical (and no doubt vintage) Russian nesting doll aesthetic.
Luis Bunuel created a masterpiece in The Exterminating Angel, a savagely funny satire of bourgeois manners and the latent brutality they barely manage to conceal. Alternately, it might be a shameless rip-off of the 6th Season Buffy episode Older and Far Away which, presumably through some magic portal or Faustian bargain, Bunuel was able to view 40 years in advance.