Director: Luis BuÃ±uel
Short, sharp and astounding, this film provides a teasing bridge between the Old Testament Buñuel (Viridiana) and the New (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie). Simon of the Desert concerns a living saint who resides atop a 60-foot pillar large enough only to stand on. Aside from performing miracles to the accolades of his adoring followers, Simon Stylites is also assailed by a series of characters including an epileptic priest, a dwarf goat-herder and his goats, which give rise to some very funny dialogue and some wonderfully surreal imagery.
Throughout the film Simon is presented with numerous temptations by the Devil (in the form of Sylvia Pinal— who plays the title role in Viridiana), culminating in his being brought back to earth, to a modern New York discotheque. The film, shot in the form of a socialist realist documentary, has been described as an incredibly perceptive rendering of the unnaturalness and hypocrisy associated with religious fanaticism and extremism, but Buñuel has put all the interpretations of Simon of the Desert in perspective when he said "Thank God I'm still an atheist".