jeudi 5 avril 2012

SIMÓN DEL DESIERTO (Luis Buñuel, 1965)

Simon of the Desert
Simon du désert
Réalisateur : Luis Bunuel
Auteur : Julio Alejandro
Acteurs : Calude Brook, Enrique Alvarez Felix, Hortensia Santovena, Francisco Reiguera,
Luis Aceves Castaneda, Enrique Garcia Alvarez, Silvia Pinal
Producteur : Producciones Gustavo Alatriste
Simon le stylite médite sur sa colonne, dans le désert, depuis six ans, six semaines et six jours. Il résiste aux tentations du monde (une colonne plus élevée), de la chair (une meilleure nourriture), mais part ensuite avec le diable (une femme) dans une boîte de nuit de Manhattan.

43.12 minute film made in 1965. More than a mere parody of Christian fetishism, it's a critique of existentialism and post-modern nihilism. Simon ends up as a jaded poet in 1960s New York, incapable of being moved by the vibrant life around him. The first Simon of the Desert, Simon the Stylite (d. 459), was a 4th Century e.v. Christian fetishist who, for forty years, sat atop a fifty-foot pole outside of Antioch and engaged in a variety of self-abusive behaviors that, in typical Christian doublethink fashion, were interpreted as signs of his holiness. Buñuel's film is set in the middle-ages, and Buñuel's Simon seems to have faithfully imitated his predecessor's religious fetishes in what today would be considered extreme sado-masochistic performance art. Throughout Buñuel's Simon of the Desert, the devil attempts to seduce Simon with her sex, first as a tarty little girl, then as a seductress trapped inside a coffin, and finally as an androgynous Greek-like figure who bares her breasts. In Buñuel's film, Simon makes a man's severed hands reappear. Almost as soon as Simon performs the miracle, the man proceeds to hit his daughter on the head for asking him if they are the same hands he had before. It's a funny sequence, for sure, but Buñuel uses it to suggest that self-serving, fanatical Christians take God for granted. Simon loves everyone in the film equally, even the prancing priest with the offensively tidy frock who condescends to a dwarf with a questionable relationship to a goat named Domitila, but that doesn't stop the man from advising the priest to abandon his classist tendencies. "Your asceticism is sublime," says someone to Simon at one point. The same could be said about Buñuel's no-frills aestheticism. Unlike the expensive desires of the bourgeois and the gaudy outfits often worn by priests at Sunday service, Buñuel shunned all things extravagant, and it shows in his images.

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