I concur with others as far as being glad that this film ultimately doesn't drag out too long. I don't know whether I think this film goes far enough as far as critiquing Simon for his self-sacrificial extremity. I also have mixed feelings about the ending, which is metaphorically interesting in a jokey way; but inconclusive in how it deals with Simon's continuing battle with Satan. But definitely worth seeing.
An interesting a surreal take on the subject of religious devotion. In a comedic, yet insightful way, the story wrestles with temptation and what Buñuel may have believed to be the pitfalls of the Catholic church's teachings. Everyone that visits Simon--religious or not--seems to have their own stubborn interpretation of devotion; and the juxtaposition of 1960's New York and the 4th Century draws attention to that.
Temptation comes from everywhere and it is in our nature to succumb to things we want. This is the message Buñuel gives us with a a darkly comedic undertone. The camera movements were beautiful and the staging of the shots with the desert as the infinite canvas created a nice full image. Very dark, morbid, and morally flawed from the religious viewpoint. No god, says Buñuel.
SOTD is truncated, incomplete, and barely known - but it is the one Bunuel film I continually return to. This has something genuine to say about the falseness of altruism, the relationship between Man and God, and the death of the Enchanted Age. Or I'm reading too much into it. God bless Bunuel.
Bunuel really doesn’t have a lot of hope for humanity, as has been made evident in the few things I have seen from him. Possibly God’s most disciplined and devoted disciple is seduced by the devil, after years of unending devotion to his decided deity. For his unflinching obedience and sacrifice, Simon is condemned to hell. No mercy and no love for God’s worshipers. Most likely, no God at all.
People think death makes the ultimate mockery of life but I think history makes the ultimate mockery of a single life. Bunuel is far more forgiving of Christian rituals than he is given credit for - echoing Sartre's sentiment that even if God doesn't exist one can't help but wish 'it' did. It might all amount to illogical belief and ritual, but being around other humans might be worst of all.