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Simón del desierto (Simon of the Desert) Reviews

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Ken S

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2007
Just not a huge fan of surreal stuff

Super Reviewer

September 21, 2008
delirious tale of a mystic who lives on a pillar in the desert and is repeatedly tempted by satan. only about 45 mins long and yes it is very funny in a satirical way tho it feels somewhat incomplete

Super Reviewer

April 15, 2012
Luis Buñuel is a real creator, not a follower! That is why I love his work so much... and this is another fine example how he creates. He actually wrote the novel and then he adapted it with help of his friend Julio Alejandro. The novel and this 1965 film were loosely based on the story of the ascetic 5th-century Syrian saint Simeon Stylites, who lived for 39 years on top of a column. On the screen we could enjoy again Silvia Pinal's and Claudio Brook's great acting.

Buñuel was never a great friend of Vatican and when in 1960 he returned to his home country Spain after a long-term exile in Mexico in order to direct Viridiana , didn't take long for him to be on the black list again! The film scandalized the Vatican and the government, which prompted Buñuel into a second exile back to Mexico. In Mexico he could freely direct The Exterminating Angel in 1962, and as well as Viridiana, the film was critical of religion. This movie, Simón del desierto was the last of the trilogy (using the same stars) and he keeps the controversial dealing with religion while still managing to keep the certain elements of his surrealist period. During the movie you could feel that the director caricatures Simon Stylites while admiring his reactions on some things he had to endure and see during his life...

How many movies you've seen which will take you on a surrealistic trip in which the main character resists Satan's lures, performs a miracle and garbles some prayers but ending in a swinging discothèque with no option to escape this futuristic word in which he was thrown until the end!?

You can enjoy the official 42 minutes (actually my version was 45 with all the credits) of unusual story with beautiful black-and-white photography by Gilbert Figueroa... and think while you're doing it!
Daniel D

Super Reviewer

December 22, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Arthouse Rating: 3.5 stars

If church isn't enough to convince you of the high absurdity of religious fanaticism, then watch Simon of the Desert. Filmed by Luis Bunuel in Mexico, the film takes religious text of bible, and shows it when worshiped as truth. It could've showed the more genocidal and hellish acts depicted as "good deeds", but instead it brings the parts that make the bible (or more the worshipers) a laughing stock. It's much more than a mockery though. It's a story of obsession, spirituality, and self inflicted misery. The film has been overshadowed over the years, but I encourage a watch of this satire. It left a surreal feeling on me, it's a great perspective on excessive spirituality.
February 17, 2013
A powerful, surreal, troubling, funny, scathing fable of religious asceticism, ritual, temptation, and corruption from Bunuel. Typically brilliant.
April 26, 2008
Even though Bunuel never got to complete Simon, it is still one of the funnier films that I've ever seen
December 21, 2008
I'm glad Bunuel's producer ran out of money to finish this film. The tacked on finale is nothing short of spur the moment creativity that doesn't happen anymore. And as for Bunuel's usual spearing of organized Religion, this is one harsh bite to its vital organs.
November 14, 2008
Funnier than I had imagined, the ending does feel a bit forced, but it's still clever enough. Bunuel is good with short films, so this works despite it's run time. Simon and the Devil as a Biblical Tom & Jerry....
July 16, 2008
Halfway through the film, when a young monk ceases his conversation with a midget shepherd only to commence skipping toward a giant pillar, my viewing companion turned to me and said, "This is the best movie ever."
Robb A.
August 13, 2014
This films is Buñuel´s wit converging with typical mexican slang and humor, though Silvia Pinal´s personification of the devil sometimes reaches gloomy and perverse moments. His most mexican film.
February 20, 2013
I had heard that this movie offered a critique of religion, but to my eye it offers no detectable stance on that or any other topic. "The Devil" is a vampish woman and Simon is her henpecked foil, a set-up that makes the movie feel a bit like a nightmare scene in a sitcom. It is mercifully short, but the twist ending offers no closure.
February 17, 2013
A short but intense film.
December 12, 2012
Had it not been for the brusque ending (apparently due to a lack of funding *sad face*), I'd call this a satire masterpiece of organized religion from Luis Bunuel. Quite funny, thought-provoking, with brilliant imagery, and a very entertaining 43 minutes! Thumbs up.
November 30, 2012
Surreal and satrical, but its too much of both for telling a religious tale.
Dave J
November 19, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012

(1965) Simon Of The Desert
(In Spanish with English subtitles)

40 minute movie from surrealist writer/ director Luis Buñuel metaphor about a person who functions like a Jesus Christ type of character whose name is 'Simon' who while on top of a catacomb, he's then gets tempted by the devil posing a girl or other expressed through many people to give in means of temptation whether it's lust or food. Self-explannatory but very fact of the matter in terms of it's messages.

3 out of 4
July 22, 2012
Bunuel looks at the fifth-century ascetic saint as only he can. Shortened in length for budgetary reasons I found the conclusion satisfying. Claudio Brook is excellent as Simon.
May 15, 2012
Silvia Pinal is delicious as the devil, my only complaint is that the film is too short.
Anthony B.
June 9, 2012
Originally intended as a feature-lenth movie, this film was cut short due to financial troubles. But aside from the rushed, confusing ending (which would have been better if the money had been available), this movie makes enough of a statement to stand alone without an extra 40 minutes of run time.
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