A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
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.
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…
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?
Things Jodorowsky loves:
- Disabled people
- Hurting animals
Things Jodorowsky hates:
- The Illuminati
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…
The Colonel: Who are you to judge me?
El Topo: I am God!
El Topo is a 1970 Mexican-American western drama film written, scored, directed by and starring Alejandro Jodorowsky. Characterized by its bizarre characters and occurrences, use of maimed and dwarf performers, and heavy doses of Christian symbolism and Eastern philosophy, the film is about the eponymous character, a violent, black-clad gunfighter, and his quest for enlightenment. It takes place in two parts. The first half resembles a western; albeit a surreal one. The second is a love story of redemption and rebirth.
It's a violent, brutal, to some confusing, but fascinating and ultimately a brilliant allegorical film. It was the first of the midnight cult films. This film…
The classic midnight movie that needs to be experienced with a crowded art house theater - literally there is no other way to enjoy it. Extremely disconnected, less stunning than Holy Mountain, and an Act II that leaves your head hurting in the sting of disappointment.
- @ Suns Cinema
Feels like Jodorowsky saw Nazarin and said, "Lemme just do this with more immediacy and less thought."
Western visual collage. I once went to an EDM show in a shipping yard and they projected "The Holy Mountain" on a wall. Looking back, that is the ideal way to see a Jodorowsky film. Because of the lack of story, crazy edits and focus on cool imagery makes this a really cool, albeit stretched out music video.
Only one of these.
Part philosophical western, part slapstick/farce/redemption story. The first part is better than the second.
Drenched in beauty, El Topo is the absence of a god and the struggle to maintain purity.
"The mole digs tunnels under the earth, looking for the sun. Sometimes, he gets to the surface. When he sees the sun, he is blinded."
"You are seven years old. You are a man. Bury your first toy and your mother's picture."
I think I need to chill out, wait a few years, become a devout Catholic and then watch this again.
Two word review: Western Madness.
Less focused than Holy Mountain, but still exceptionally entertaining and chock full of symbolism to chew on like intellectual gum.
Frank Ocean’s list of his 100 favorite films, as published in “Boys Don’t Cry” on the release of his album,…