The Exterminating Angel
Bunuel’s surreal black comedy is a parable that satirizes social norms, artistic pretension, moral hypocrisy, and the Catholic Church. Luis Buñuel was strongly connected to the surrealist movement and I’d like to convey a connection to surrealism through the costume and style of the cinematography. I’m interested in designing mainly for the society group and then also for the Major-domo of the house to create a comparison between the two groups. I’m designing for 12 characters in total, including Edmundo Nobile and Lucía de Nobile, the party hosts.
I’m interested in exploring the disintegration of social behaviours that happens as the group remain trapped in the room, I think it would be interesting to have layers to the costumes that are gradually revealed to maybe begin to show the secrets of the group or play upon the seven deadly sins that can be seen in many of the characters, including greed, lust and pride. And I would like to explore the possibility of using these sins to create laser cut pieces and digital prints that sit beneath layers in pastel tones juxtaposing the symbolism of pastel tones (which suggests sweetness and innocence) with the harsh reality of their actual behaviour and aggressive excess.
I want to design for a contemporary film, focusing on a slightly futuristic, fantasy style – films that I’ve taken inspiration from include Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola and The Hunger Games by Gary Ross. I want to explore the wealth and excess of the society group and represent this through exaggerated shape, 3D textiles and pastel and primary tones. I’m interested in exploring a fantasy element creating a world in the film where the social divide between the rich and the poor is represented by the stark difference in clothing – colour, shape and textiles – the excess of the wealth shown through the society group comments on the continued extensive divide between the haves and the have nots, I’ve been exploring the Surrealist Ball held by the Marie-Hélène De Rothschild on December 12, 1972 and I want to use this as a basis for creating the party scene held by the Nobile’s. as it highlights the very real divide that exists within society.
Edmundo and Lucia Nobile, a wealthy society couple, invite a group of twenty friends to their lavish estate after an 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 absurdist 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 major-domo 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 behaviour deteriorates as they use a closet full 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 occupant’s degenerates, they argue among themselves, begin to take drugs, and slaughter the sheep and lambs that in explicitly wander the inside of the house for food. They finally realize that in order to escape they must repeat their actions from the dinner party. When they escape the house they go to church where the whole congregation becomes trapped inside the church and a revolution begins outside. The film finishes with three sheep running into the church.