Simon of the Desert is Luis Buñuel’s wicked and wild take on the life of devoted ascetic Saint Simeon Stylites, who waited atop a pillar surrounded by a barren landscape for six years, six months, and six days, in order to prove his devotion to God. Yet the devil, in the figure of the beautiful Silvia Pinal, huddles below, trying to tempt him down. A skeptic’s vision of human conviction, Buñuel’s short and sweet satire is one of the master filmmaker’s most renowned works of surrealism. —The Criterion Collection
Although regarded as the greatest artist of Spanish cinema Luis Buñuel only made three films that are Spanish by nationality. His exile from his homeland at the end of the Spanish Civil War resulted in extended periods in Mexico and France. Despite this displacement, Spain was never far from Buñuel’s mind. The peasant culture of the villages of Calanda and Zaragoza, many of them dating to the Middle-Ages, greatly influenced his imagination during his childhood. The Spanish literary tradition, represented by Lope de Vega, Cervantes and the writers of picaresque stories, remained constant touchstones. Strongest of all was the distinctly Spanish nature of his Catholicism; he would retain its influence long after he renounced the teachings of the Church. At the University of Madrid his friendship with poet Federico Garcia Lorca and painter Salvador Dalí would play a major role in the avant-garde of the 1920s. It was during this period that he discovered the works of Sigmund Freud. His insight… read more
UH OH!!! Mr. "I thank God I am an atheist" is at it again. Bunuel presents a respectful satire of Catholic Christianity, and a disrespectful depiction of female sexuality. The Devil is a SEXY lady in this movie... And is it Simon of the Desert or Simon Faust? That is what I take away from this film: Faust turned catholic. I do believe the ending is a Faustian bargain with a lady Mephistopheles.
So, the gaping flesh or something Satan was referring to was a beatnik club in the city??
Simon plays the part of pious, ascetic saint throughout the narrative look of the movie only to be whisked away to NYC where rock and roll is alive and raging and shaking the screen. Before any one… read review
Terrific film by one of my favorite film makers of all time. Silvia Pinal as the Devil, and Claudio Brook as Simon are both fantastic in their roles. Might I add that Pinal is as beautiful as ever… read review