All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
The Definitive Cult Spaghetti Western
El Topo decides to confront warrior Masters on a trans-formative desert journey he begins with his 6 year old son, who must bury his childhood totems to become a man. El Topo (the mole) claims to be God, while dressed as a gunfighter in black, riding a horse through a spiritual, mystical landscape strewn with old Western movie, and ancient Eastern religious symbols. Bandits slaughtered a village on his path, so El Topo avenges the massacred, then forcibly takes their leader's woman Mara as his. El Topo's surreal way is bloody, sexual and self-reflective, musing of his own demons, as he tries to vanquish those he encounters.
Erm...I'm going to put down in this review what I thought of this film as I was watching it, and see what I come out with:
In Western times, being 7 years old was considered to be the age at which you become a man?
Massacre, massacre, massacre, massacre.
He actually made his 7 year old son conduct a mercy killing. He's the world's worst dad.
Yep, shooting shoes.
Yep, slicing bananas.
Yep, making a naked woman out of seeds, then eating it.
Balloons were invented in Western times?
Bang bang, splat splat.
OK, how can he still walk after being shot with a high-powered rifle in both knees?
The New York Times contacted me today for background about my review of El Topo that was published in the L.A. Free Press on April 23, 1971. They provided me with a scan of the article, and I'm reposting it here. Maybe 43 years later its verbiage is a little embarrassing; but I stand by what I wrote back then. How often do we get an opportunity to view what we thought about films through the prism of the far past experience? Let this be a lesson for all you younger reviewers on letterboxd...chances are in the far future you might be confronted with your writings, since nothing on the internet is truly ephemeral...just the way that nothing in print…
It's a landmine field filled with Symbolism with hair triggers ready to go off any moment with one wrong step! Many have tried to defuse these devilish lil devices to no avail! You see they were never built to solve and deactivate! Their sole purpose is to confound, act profound and on occasion blow up in your face should you get too cocky and claim you've made it through the mine field without a scratch!
I guarantee you have never seen a spaghetti western quite like this one! It's the crack baby spawned by David Lynch and Sergio Leone!
Saying it is Bizarre would be an understatement!
Alejandro Jodorowsky is one sick puppy! My highest compliment and terms of endearment for a great director!
Film #22 in Around the World in 50 Movies!
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo is an utterly insane, surreal, and bizarre acid western that helped redefine one of America’s oldest film genres. The film is rich with symbolism, full of controversy, and is one of the most unique films ever crafted. Jodorowsky cemented himself as an underground legend with the release of this film and has since become one of the most influential independent filmmakers ever.
This movie is completely cooked to the bone fucking ridiculous. I have no idea where to rank it but I absolutely loved it. You can say a lot of things bout El Topo but you cant say that you weren't entertained.
This movie was made to be reviewed by you. Please watch it if you can find time in your busy schedule. You'll have a field day.
One could dismiss it as pure manipulative indulgence, seeing as though any idea of restraint has been thrown out the window, but the obscenity was never only on the surface. It seemed to run deeper than that and there was enough ambiguity evident that I can for myself at least conclude…
Everybody to the limit...and beyond.
Seeing this at a late night showing on a 35mm print was the the most perfect way to see this movie.
μία σουρεαλιστική εμπειρία,αντι-mainstream αριστούργημα...
I watched it a second time, and I still think it's self-indulgent as fuck. Maybe not a mess, but still pretentious and rather boring at times. However, now that I'm fully awake and not drunk on diet pepsi and leftover pizza, I'm a bit more warm to the film as a general experience. Certain images really jumped out at me (the skinned goat crucified on a concrete wall, the third gun master lying dead in a waterhole filled with blood while dead rabbits surround him) and the technical perfection of almost all shots really stood out.
I can't really say that I like El Topo though. It was a struggle not falling asleep, and I'm frustrated with its deliberate obscurity and "woah look at all these symbols isnt this inTEllEctUAL" general attitude.
With that, I'm wondering: should I even give Holy Mountain chance....?
Ok. I'm gonna watch this again tonight because as of now, all I've processed is that this is a self-indulgent mess that finds joy in its obscurity and gets off to its audiences suffering. I'll probably change my opinion when I watch it a second time.
People who bleed paint, women with man's voices, the loudest flies in existence, a naked billy the kid, people screaming like strange animals. This is the weirdest story of Christ I've ever seen. Or at least that is what I think it was about. I don't even know what to rate this movie.
Fuck it. What is life anyway?
Rewatching this, I like it a little more than I used to---it's still easy to see how it got the reputation that it did. At the same time, a lot of the criticisms feel valid, with a couple of caveats: While Jodorowsky posits himself almost as a Christ figure in a couple of spots, he also isn't afraid to make himself look ridiculous and/or pathetic, and the moments where the film abandons any subtlety altogether: "you lost" are made up for by some of the sensory overload that he's not afraid to pack into other scenes.
At the same time, there IS a lot of misogyny, and for a film about an individual who consistently strikes out on his own…
JUST FUCK ME UP TBH
Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…