Starring Claudio Brook, Silvia Pinal, Enrique Álvarez Félix

The least inflammatory of Bunuel’s trilogy, Simon of the Desert follows Viridiana (1961) and The Exterminating Angel (1962) in its illusory approach to religious themes. In this one, a devout figure named Simon spends his days and nights atop a pillar in the desert besieged by onlookers and frequent visits from Satan, here in the form of an attractive woman. Bunuel, an acclaimed surrealist, uses the premise for a series of unspectacular imagery to my mind. The proceedings, while mercifully short, are too austere and uninspired. There’s no new approach to the material. It mostly symbols we’ve seen before. That is, until the ending, which I won’t ruin, but salvages the film to a degree with its strangeness.

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