The film begins with the church elders worshipping Simon and showing their gratitude by building him a taller and grander tower to pray upon, a recipe for moral corruption. Buñuel is sublime in his mockery of religious ideals as a double amputee begs to have his hands back, and with a few words they have miraculously appeared; the first thing the man does with his “new hands” is smack his children as they wander off listlessly. This subtle insight shines light upon the truth of intelligent non-deistic belief: god must hate amputees because there is not one documented case of a severed limb being restored by prayer, though many claim to be healed of other maladies.
Soon, a beautiful woman with the devil’s tongue attempts to entice Simon from his saintly perch but each time he refuses. Finally, in wonderfully surreal imagery only Buñuel can imagine, a coffin propels itself across the wasteland and she captures Simon in a moment of weakness and transports him (via a metal coffin: a huge jet plane) to a beatnik nightclub. Newly shorn and smoking his pipe, grooving to some funky rhythm, he finally tastes the essence of humanity and struggles to return: but in his absence, someone else has already taken his place.
Final Grade: (A)
DVD Only (1 disc)