Simon of the Desert
(Simón del desierto)
Claudio Brook, Silvia Pinal, Hortensia Santovaña, Jesús Fernández Martínez,
Luis Buñuel’s wicked satire throws tasty temptation at the feet of the fasting Saint Simon Stylites, who spent much of his life atop a tall column seeking salvation. The devil (Silvia Pinal) appears in many guises—as an innocent girl rolling a hoop, a worldly harlot who bares her breasts, even as the Great Shepherd himself—trying to coax Simon from his penitential pedestal. While repelling these temptations, Simon must also disregard the crass needs of his adulators, who want cheap miracles and forgiveness for their failings. In the apocalyptic final moments, this wily fable of transcendence crucifies all of society, not just simple Simon.
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Cinéastes de notre temps: Luis Buñuel
Robert Valey, France, 1964
The first episode in Andre S. Labarthe and Janine Bazin’s quintessential television series profiling the world’s great filmmakers features a revealing mid-career interview with Luis Buñuel, along with reflections on his work from friends, collaborators, and even clergy.