Simon of the Desert 4.0 stars

A bedtime story for nonbelievers. Luis Buñuel's little forty-five-minute parable about the 15th-century ascetic, St. Simeon, who lived atop a pillar, has a clumsy, stop-and-go pacing, but is related with a grand raconteur's gusto. (The end is a particularly waggish stroke -- the Devil whisks Simeon into the 20th Century to view the decadent nadir of Western Civilization -- a discotheque.) With the flat, desolate setting and the up-tilted views of the aloof holy man, the movie is composed of about three-fourths sky; and against this luminous backdrop Buñuel's mixed-nuts characters stand out like the over-defined figures in a Sunday School play -- priests, pilgrims, the poor, the infirm, the malformed, and, in various disguises, the ubiquitous Devil. With Claudio Brook and Silvia Pinal. 1965.

Duncan Shepherd

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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