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.
….Forty-three minutes of perfect filmmaking (1965). Luis Buñuel tells the story of San Simeon Stylites, the desert martyr who stood for 25 years atop a pillar, and the efforts of the devil to coax him down. Since the devil is played by Mexican musical star Silvia Pinal, her temptations aren’t the usual ones. Buñuel’s wit is piercingly sharp, his timing impeccable, and his visual style superbly unobtrusive and naturalistic–proving again how much realism is required in surrealism.
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