Foreign Classics

Simon of the Desert (The Criterion Collection)

April 8th, 2011 by Wayward Muse

Never finished because of financial and other issues, Simon of the Desert is only 45 minutes long. This film explores one of the recurring themes of Bunuel’s work: his ambivalence; his almost reverent irreverence towards God and religion. Simon is a disciple of Saint Simeon Stylites, an historical Syrian ascetic. He emulates his namesake by fasting, enduring other ascetic trials, and lecturing from atop his pillar. The film takes a little time to really get going, but the payoff of a little patience is greatly rewarded. Read More…

Cleo from 5 to 7

December 20th, 2010 by Wayward Muse

What an utter delight! There is so much here with such a deceptively simple presentation. The film follows Cleo, a young Edith Piaf successor (we even get a report on Piaf’s most recent medical recovery over the radio in a taxi ride), over the course of an hour and a half, which seems much longer as so much happens. But the camera never seems to lose sight of Cleo for a moment, staying with her in “real time” through taxi and car journeys, bus rides, and strolls down the streets of Paris, while she tries to come to terms with the fact she probably has cancer. Read More…

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