11/20/2017  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

The Criterion Collection presents
Simon of the Desert (1965)

“My love for you must not come between my Lord and his servant.”
- Simon (Claudio Brook)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: February 16, 2009

Stars: Claudio Brook, Silvia Pinal
Other Stars: Francisco Reiguera, Antonio Bravo
Director: Luis Buñuel

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult situations, nudity)
Run Time: 00h:45m:32
Release Date: February 10, 2009
UPC: 715515042017
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ A+B+C+ B

DVD Review

The great Luis Buñuel is perhaps best known among casual film fans for a startling sequence of a woman’s eyeball being slit open with a knife in his first film, Un Chien Andalou. While you won’t find anything like that in his 1965 masterpiece Simon of the Desert, you will still find plenty of the trademark surrealism that cinema buffs continue to adore the filmmaker for. Buñuel originally planned Simon as part of an anthology showcasing the immense talent of actress Silvia Pinal (Viridiana), but he never filmed the other two parts of that daunting project. What was shot and released does, indeed, feature some of Pinal’s best work, and is one of the best short films of all time.

Simon (Claudio Brook) is an Ascetic priest who has put himself atop a tall pillar in the middle of the desert. He spends his days praying to God and preaching to the masses who visit him at the bottom of the pillar. In-between working miracles and exorcising demons from his ground-dwelling flock, Simon is visited by Satan in various forms. He first appears as a young schoolgirl (Silvia Pinal), who uses her naked body to try and coax Simon down from his pedestal. Satan then appears as a shepherd (Pinal again), and finally as a half-clothed woman who travelled in a coffin to Simon’s pillar. It is this final visit that offers the priest’s ultimate temptation and could change his religious philosophy forever.

This fascinating film packs more into its short running time (45 minutes) than practically any of the features littering our multiplexes these days. While at first, it might bring to mind the final act of Martin Scorcese’s incredible The Last Temptation of Christ (I’d be shocked if Marty wasn’t at least slightly influenced by this), the movie relies far more on what we don’t see than what we did during Jesus’ fascinating “What If?” journey. Buñuel has much more to say about society as a whole, as the last five minutes here makes Satan’s final appearance to Simon sit with us long after “Fin” appears on the screen.

Rife with symbolism, as so many of Buñuel’s works are, we see our fair share of interesting imagery. Nearly all of Simon’s visitors are vital to the tightly written story here, but there are a few standouts. They involve the various incarnations that Satan comes to Simon as, with the most appealing (to the males in the audience, at least) being the first appearance by the lovely Silvia Pinal. Her actions in this sequence are those of a young girl, annoyingly singing and prancing around, but when she sits down and reveals her stocking legs to Simon, it is clear that this is the first time the devil is appearing to him. While Simon is instantly onto Satan in this instance and in the rest of his appearances, it’s Pinal’s work that sets the stage and tone for this, Buñuel’s clinic in short filmmaking.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in its original full frame format, and features a brand new, restored high-definition digital transfer. The result of the clean-up effort is a pristine look that includes amazing grayscale and well-handled contrast levels. The images are nicely detailed, despite some remaining dirt and grain.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoSpanishno


Audio Transfer Review: The original Spanish mono audio track is also quite good, although a slightly annoying hiss can be heard in the background through most of the film. The dialogue is crystal clear and well-blended into the overall mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Silvia Pinal – Interview with the actress.
Extras Review: We get a couple of great extras here, including A Mexican Buñuel. This 1997 documentary, produced by Emilio Maillé, is actually longer than Simon of the Desert itself, as it clocks in at 55 minutes. This is a brilliant look at Buñuel’s Mexican films made between 1947 and 1965, and despite some insightful interviews with those who knew the man, the best part of this piece are the numerous clips from those films.

There’s also an interview with actress Silvia Pinal that was recorded exclusively for The Criterion Collection in Mexico City in January of 2006. This six-minute piece finds Pinal reflecting on her work in Simon of the Desert, which she calls the film that she most enjoyed making with Luis Buñuel.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Luis Buñuel’s Simon of the Desert is a great way to introduce yourself to the master’s surreal works. This thoroughly engaging film is helped by powerhouse performances by stars Claudio Brook and Silvia Pinal, who help create a series of lasting images that will stay with the audience for years to come. The Criterion Collection does another fine job, giving us a single-disc effort that features excellent audio and video, and a pair of great extras.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store