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Simon of the Desert (The Criterion Collection)

Silvia Pinal , Claudio Brook , Luis Buñuel    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Simon of the Desert (The Criterion Collection) + Viridiana (Criterion Collection)
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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps only for admirers of Bunuel's films... Oct. 7 2009
By nobody TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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Definitely not for everyone. In fact this one may be more appreciated by fans of Luis Bunuel's films in general. Watch this if you relate with his particular point of view. Quirky, humorous and very odd.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Satire! April 8 2009
By esther
I saw this movie a couple of years ago late on TV one summer night. It's a sharply witty satire, well-worth watching. I had to get a bootleg because Criterion had not yet released it. Highly recommended, although the price does seem steep for a considerably short film. I feel like for $5 more or something they could throw in another shorter Bunuel film. The film is interesting in that it attacks religious hypocrisy with an acidic tongue, but not just religion exclusively, but rather attitudes towards piety and temptation.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMON STILL PROVOKES Feb. 13 2009
By Robin Simmons - Published on Amazon.com
Forty-four years ago, Luis Buñuel (1900-1983), the Spanish film maestro still living in self-imposed Mexican exile from Franco's rule, directed what was to become his most famous work of surrealism.

Buñuel's last Mexican film, "Simon of the Desert" (Simon del Desierto), was originally intended to be a full-length feature film, but was cut short - literally - when the promised funding evaporated. With about 40 minutes of scripted material in the can, Buñuel radically altered the ending. A change that ensured the movie's well-deserved acclaim.

Simon is based on Symeon the Stylite, also known as the Hermit of the Pillar (around 400 A.D.). He was one of the many ascetics who sought salvation by isolation and deprivation after the fall of the Roman Empire. Simon chose to live atop a column, dependent on the good will of strangers for bread and water.

Like much of Buñuel's work, "Simon of the Desert" is considered blasphemous by some. The "enfante terrible of surrealism," a name Buñuel loved being called, depicts a bearded, bedraggled Simon (a terrific Claudio Brook) atop his pillar for six years, six months, six days (uh oh, 666), when the devil periodically appears (a la sensuous Sylvia Pinal) and taunts him, hoping he will climb down.

"Thank God I'm still an atheist," Buñuel was often quoted as saying. But he was educated by Jesuits and steeped in religious myth, ritual and culture. His mockery of organized religion is often inspired (no pun intended). Perhaps now more than ever as we are engaged in a global conversation regarding the effects religious fundamentalism and fanaticism.

"Simon of the Desert" comes to an abrupt and improvised ending that reminds me of the best of Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone" scripts. Deeply moral and ironic, it's a jolting time-warp leap that gives new meaning to the emptiness of the post-modern age, the banality of evil and the superficiality of pop culture.

The new, restored, high-definition digital transfer is, as with all Criterion titles, as good as possible. Extras include A Mexican Buñuel an 56 minute 1997 documentary and a new interview with actress Sylvia Pinal. An included booklet features a new essay by Michael Wood and a vintage interview with Buñuel.

For the serious collector of world cinema landmarks, this is one for the digital library.

Also new from Criterion is Buñuel's other gem "The Exterminating Angel."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simon great movie- Slow Amazon shipping. Aug. 8 2012
By Im not a Pen Name - Published on Amazon.com
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Simon of the Desert is a brilliant film
Hilarious at some degree, but very clever and not taking evident position in the aspects it treats.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars apocatastasis Oct. 5 2009
By Juan Jose Namnun - Published on Amazon.com
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criterion collection usually brings us masterpieces of cinema in the best possible shape,
and they did the same with this classi
somebody who has enjoyed the works of Bunuel( or criterion dvds) can be grateful with this edition, affordable, beautiful, full of nice extras,ect
solo lamento el hecho de que los dvd de criterion no tiene subtitulos en espanol, solo en eeuu mas de cuarenta millones de personas hablan espanol, (que es el tercer idioma mas hablado en el mundo, el primero es el mandarin y el cuarto solo lo hablan en la india asi que solo el ingles y el espanol son idiomas universales)
cuando les pondran subtitulos en espanol a las maravillosas ediciones de criterion?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bunuel! Feb. 28 2009
By Gorman Bechard - Published on Amazon.com
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Is this Bunuel's greatest film? No, not by any stretch. (For me personally that would be Exterminating Angel.) But it offers his classic take on religious hypocrisies in a brisk 45 minutes. The reaction when Simon produces his first miracle especially is one of the great moments in film. (Really, there are so many wonderful small Bunuelian touches. His take on the "priesthood" is hilarious.) I could go on, but it's 45 minutes, just watch the damn thing!

Thank you to Criterion for the flawless print. The film looks and sounds pristine!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only fundamentalists can dislike this one!!! Sept. 3 2013
By Tito Pannaggi - Published on Amazon.com
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One of Buñuel's great films - full of humor!!! I enjoyed seeing it again. A film for people that like a good film!
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