And see... I've already let her corrupt this post of mine that was supposed to focus on Luis Bunuel's Simon of the Desert not the voluptuous female figure. Yes, Pinal does play a large part in that brief, forty-five minute comedy, but Simon of the Desert is packed with so many absurd jokes, Catholic satire, and mixed-message humanity, that if you can't shake Pinal's recurring sexuality out of your head...
... then you just might miss out on the total whole. Knowing Bunuel, that was probably deliberate.
The conflicting ideals of self-purity vs. self-interest are at the heart of Simon of the Desert. Simon (Claudio Brook looking like a stern-browed Richard Burton), has given up the pleasures and pleasantries of waking life in order to touch god. He does this by propping himself up on a cement pillar for six plus years, rejecting material possessions and the temptation of tasty food and drink. This is a joke in itself. Bunuel pokes fun at the irony of a man who claims self-sacrifice, yet still has the ego to hoist himself up upon a pedestal for passers-by to fawn over.
Because Luis Bunuel so frequently used Catholicism as the target for much of his own on-screen humor and aggression, what is often overlooked is that the director was never vain enough to exclude himself from those criticisms, nor was it his philosophy that Catholicism be held singularly responsible for many of the social inequalities portrayed in his films. Bunuel was raised a Catholic, so that was simply his personal religious frame of reference. And though he often referred to himself as an atheist, Bunuel was so enamored of the rituals, teachings, and customs of religion that it wouldn't be surprising if some kind of spiritual connection existed in his heart the day he died.
Simon of the Desert itself contains many examples of the double-sided regard Bunuel held for religious teachings. In one instance, Bunuel is teasing about the chastity of a young priest who incidentally finds himself awkwardly tempted by the full, bulging teat of a goat, while in another, he shows the unflinching generosity of Simon when a fellow priest tries to engage him in a tricky game of material ownership. These contrasting, lighting-quick scenarios never let up, which is why Simon of the Desert - even at such a short length - is so topically dense.
My favorite thing about Simon of the Desert is the way Bunuel knocks down religious myths without crushing them. So often, either through Biblical teachings or in a King Vidor movie, we're taught that religious figures are more regal, proper, and ethically balanced than the rest of us. But Bunuel bucks that notion. In an arms-outstretched profound moment, Simon is seen forgetting lines to a divine prayer; after a miracle is performed, a crowd disperses as if the show is over and it's time to go home; a quartet of priests discuss how they really don't feel like praying with Simon even though they know that they should.
In other words, Saint Christopher picked his nose and farted just like you and I do. And, you know what, if the holy Saint Simon happens to sneak a peak at the boobies of Satan, he isn't being unchaste, he's just being a man.