The ascetic Simón believes he is a sinner and decides to self-inflict a sacrifice, living like a hermit on the top of a pedestal in the middle of the desert to be closer to God and resist the temptations of the world. His followers are peasants and travelers that believe that Simón is a saint capable of performing miracles and they crowd to hear his speeches. However, Satan tries to tempt him with the pleasures of the world.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The funding for this gleefully blasphemous feature was pulled before the film was completed, resulting in an abrupt and not quite satisfying ending. Still, what's left is a little slice of heaven (pun intended) with some of its directors most direct and powerful attacks on the clergy he made a career of hating. Bunuel here presents us with an ascetic so self-involved that he declines to embrace his own mother; he restores the hands to a peasant who immediately uses them to strike his own child; he prides himself on eating only lettuce, mentioning it often and to anyone who will listen. "Simon" is a good-looking film, too, with a visual landscape that echoes its protagonist's austerity and startling surreal touches -- such as a coffin that slides through the desert scrub to the base of the column atop which Simon spends his years -- that recall the glory days of "L'Age d'Or." It might have been a masterpiece had Bunuel been allowed the full scope of his vision; it's a major film as is. 8/10
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