The Exterminating Angel (1962) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • After a lavish dinner party, the guests find themselves mysteriously unable to leave the room... and over the next few days all the elaborate pretenses and facades that they've built up by virtue of their position in society collapse completely as they become reduced to living like animals...

    - Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>
  • Edmundo and Lucia Nobile, a wealthy society couple, invite a group of twenty friends to their lavish Mexico City estate after a evening at the opera. For various, vague reasons their servants desert them as the guests arrive, leaving the bourgeois group to a truncated meal, a pretentious piano recital, enigmatic and sometimes absurdest conversation, boorish manners, and indiscreet romantic assignations. At 4 a.m. the Nobiles begin to question why no one has left, and when the dawn arrives, the estate's majordomo is unable to prepare breakfast because the usual delivery of daily provisions has mysteriously not arrived. As the day drones on, they slowly begin to realize that they are gripped by an inexplicable inertia that keeps them confined to the room. They make no conscious attempt to overcome their constraints but accept this self-imposed quarantine because no one else seems to make the effort. In the days that follow their behavior deteriorates as they use a closetful of expensive ceramic urns to relieve themselves and smash into a wall to break a water pipe to drink. Authorities that have surrounded the estate find that the same invisible barrier keeps them from entering the mansion to rescue the group. As the health and mental well-being of the occupants degenerates, they argue among themselves, begin to take drugs, and slaughter the sheep and lambs that inexplicitly wander the inside of the house for food. Bunuel's surreal black comedy is a parable that satirizes social mores, artistic pretension, moral hypocrisy, and the Catholic Church.

    - Written by duke1029@aol.com
  • Edmundo and Lucía de Nóbile are hosting a lavish dinner party for twenty-two following a night out at the opera, the party guests who include many from the production. One hour before dinner is to begin, the household servants, one by one, are called away or feel the need to leave the house for one reason or another. By the middle of dinner, during which the bourgeois guests cattily gossip about the others and/or talk about their own self-centered issues such as embarking on extramarital affairs, Julio, the household's chief steward, is the only servant remaining. After dinner, the guests move to the music room to continue their conversations and listen to one of the guests, Blanca, play the piano, while Julio cleans up on his own. At the time the guests would normally leave to go home at the end of the party, they all inexplicably decide to stay overnight, and although Edmundo reluctantly offers everyone bedrooms, they all end up sleeping in the music room. By morning, after a small respite, some want to stay longer, but even those who decide to leave immediately somehow feel that they can't. Slowly one by one, all twenty-three, which now includes Julio, come to the realization that for whatever reason they can't leave the music room, and by the time the outside world realizes they are trapped inside, no one can get in. They are most concerned about getting the basic necessities to survive, but as time goes on, the basic nature of each of the twenty-three begins to emerge. But they have to figure out what has caused their imprisonment if they will have any chance of ever leaving.

    - Written by Huggo
  • A group of bourgeois friends are trapped in a house after a dinner party. Some type of mysterious force does not allow them to leave a room. There, a few days later, their social behavior masks fall down, revealing persons very selfish, rottenness, confessions about their friendship and a 'bad smell': most of them stinks. They survive, through the sacrifice of some lambs, and in the end, everything and everybody returns to the same initial position and they leave the place.

    - Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • The guests at an upper-class dinner party find themselves unable to leave.

    - Written by Shannon Patrick Sullivan <shannon@mun.ca>


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