#261 Simon of the Desert

Watched: February 23 2019

Director: Luis Buñuel

Starring: Claudio Brook, Silvia Pinal, Enrique Álvarez Félix, Hortensia Santoveña

Year: 1965

Runtime: 43 min

As attentive readers may have noticed, we have now skipped a few numbers. That is because Edgar has recently edited the list and added a few more movies to the earlier years. Hopefully, we’ll get around to watching them and adding them as soon as the Corona crisis is over. However, for now the library is closed and we just have to work with what we have. That also means that we might have to skip a few upcoming movies as well since we can’t get our grabby (and quite possibly infected) hands on them. Not to worry though – we’ll make up for it as soon as we can. For now, were just happy that the Norwegian government are taking precautions and doing their best to keep us all safe.

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Disclaimer done, now on to the good stuff! Simon of the Desert is a weird one, which should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody considering Buñuel’s earlier works. Basically, Simon (Brook) is super pious. Like, really incredibly pious. And humble. Let’s not forget it. In fact, he’s so pious and humble that he disowns his own mother (Santoveña) because he needs to concentrate on God and being pious and humble.

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“Bar none I am the most humblest. Number one at the top of the humble list.”

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Still, you can’t walk around being as humble as Simon without drawing the attention of the devil him/herself (Pinal). Once you set yourself on a literal pedestal as the best person in the world, Satan will want to get in on this action and prove you wrong. But who will win? The fallen angel or the oh so pious man?

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“Don’t judge me. I was going through an identity crisis when this was filmed, wanting to be Jesus and stuff. So embarrassing now…”

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This was amazing. We loved the skipping brother Matthew/Matías (Félix), the inner monologue, the mix of time periods, the incredibly unsubtle Satan, and the coffin. Don’t ask. The film looks beautiful and some of the close-ups reminded us a lot of the gorgeous The Passion of Joan of Arc.

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Also, very topically, Simon practised social distancing before it was cool. Well done, Simon! You’re doing your part!

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Besides taking one for the team by socially distancing himself from everyone though, Simon’s pursuit of holiness and divinity seems extremely selfish and self-indulgent. He’s not really trying to save the world or anything, just himself. That being said, he does perform miracles which the villagers surrounding him take for granted so maybe he was just fed up with not being appreciated. At least Satan gave him something to focus on – Pinal is very entertaining and a lot more interesting than Simon. But then again, that is always the case, isn’t it?

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Seriously – who would you rather party with?

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What we learned: Get thee behind me Satan! And keep your distance – we’re trying not to get infected here.

Next time: The 10th Victim (1965)

#200 The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film

Watched: September 22 2018

Director: Richard Lester, Peter Sellers

Starring: Richard Lester, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Dick Bentley and a bunch of others, all uncredited

Year: 1960

Runtime: 11 min

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Hooray! We’ve reached number 200 on the list! 20% done! 200+ blog entries! And many, many hours spent in front of the TV! Tonight, we shall toast with bubbles and celebrate, but not before bringing you another very short film review of a very short film.

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Skål!

The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film is a series of strange and absurd slapstick comedy skits shot in the English country side. The title is almost longer than the film itself, and there’s very little we can say about it other than that it was amusing and reminded us a bit of Monty Python, so we would not be surprised if this was an inspiration for the comedy group. Which, if we’d bother looking it up, we’re sure we’d find was true.

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It’s hard to pinpoint a favourite gag, but this one is up there

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You can watch the whole thing here, and we recommend that you do so.

What we learned: Not a whole lot, really. Perhaps that once you shoot something, you own it..? Or don’t go towards someone beckoning you if they’re wearing boxing gloves..?

Next time: The Virgin Spring/Jungfrukällan (1960)

#112 Duck Amuck

Watched: June 10 2017

Director: Chuck Jones

Starring: Mel Blanc

Year: 1953

Runtime: 7 min

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A short film, so a short post. Duck Amuck brought back many childhood memories as we watched it non stop as children. However, watching it as adults, we realised that we had never understood the dialogue completely. We knew the “melody” of the words by heart, but obviously we watched it before we could speak English. Any child who’s watched animated movies in foreign languages will understand what we’re talking about – you know (and remember) exactly how everything sounds but you have no idea what anything means. So watching it again was a bit of a revelation.

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This sort of sums up the experience

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Basically, it’s a hilarious fight between Daffy Duck and his animator, and you can watch the entire thing here. We suggest you do, as nothing we say will convey the glory that is this film. Enjoy!

What we learned: We finally learned what the dialogue was all about.

Next time: Glen or Glenda (1953)