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Simon is an outcast from his Jewish community because he claims that the devil talks to him and he has the ability to put curses on crops. When Dovid asks the 'Squire' to sell him some land so he can build a railway station, a ruthless businessman from the neighbouring gentile community uses Simon to find out who wants to buy the land so he can 'persuade' him otherwise. Written by
I've just watched the last 15 minutes of SIMON MAGUS for about the fourth time-- Sundance shows it all the time, and maybe that channel's programer intends to give it the exposure it should have had, years ago. One imagines Director Hopkins is a spell-binder-- to have coaxed the exceptional cast onto an under-financed backwoods Welsh location, and then gotten them on the same wavelength despite trepidations about looking silly in shtetl-garb and forelocks. Ordinarily I am deeply aversive to holy-fool fictions-- yet this one made me privy to an ethnic communal memory; the end-credits express thanks to Isaac Bashevis Singer, and one imagines him loving it (a 1972 documentary on him had the same mixture of tomfoolery and elegy). A tone-deaf earlier commentator decried the sound-track-- will bet you'll sit all the way through the scroll of names, listening to the last variations on a score that, like everything else about this film, is a lovingly precise devotional.
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