January 17, 2016

ElTopo (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1970)

I have now seen a few of Jodorowsky films (El Topo, The Dance of Reality, El Topo) along with the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune. He is certainly an interesting person. I'd classify him as an auteur - as there is a singular vision that is clearly impressed upon each of his films. Most recent on my viewing list was El Topo - which is cited as being the first midnight cult film. I believe John Lennon and Yoko Ono introduced the film as it began a one year run at a NYC art house.

It is a western like no other Western - think High Plains Drifter meets 8 1/2. There are always children in Jodorowsky's films (at least the three films I've seen to date). And his films tend to be family affairs with his sons making appearances, in this case: Alejandro Jodorowsky plays the lead, El Topo; his son Brontis play the boy, Hijo.

As far as plot goes. There are two key sections in this film. The first is about El Topos journey/spiritual quest which pits him against numerous bandits - and ultimately the four masters of the desert. He ultimately ends up in the hands of lepers/outcasts. The second story is about a man who finds himself in the company of lepers/outcasts and helps them to escape their plight.

Under the hood Jodorowsky plumbs psychological, philosophical and pseudo-theological questions. On the surface there is plenty of sex, gun-slinging, and lots of thick red blood.

If your a fan of Fellini, David Lynch and Clint Eastwood; then you may also appreciate Jodorowsky. He is certainly an acquired taste. And I think I'm starting to acquire it.

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