not like stupid/dull, but as in movies that are so insanely packed with things and ideas and visuals they become…
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
It's got a similar, great look as the one he presents in the Holy Mountain, and it's full of all kinds of interesting and weird images and situations, just like HM as well. But it doesn't work in the same way here. It feels way too long, and some of the things just flat out didn't work for me. It's still cool and unique, it's just not as good as HM.
yup yup yup yup yup
Very strange, but in a good way. It makes me want to shoot a Western now.
Disjointed, "meaningful" nonsense, but it's just too fun to give anything less than 1.5 stars.
I've come to terms with the fact that I'll never understand Jodorowsky and his weird gang of limbless little people, naked children, abused animals, and sexualized elderly women.
Dude, holy shit.
The first half or so of El Topo is a badass, absolutely beautiful western, utilizing some especially trippy elements in its presentation. However, it's sane and understandable enough for the viewer to get sucked in immediately. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the film pulls a 180 and goes completely batshit insane. This isn't an issue though, as I found myself going along with the intriguing surrealism without being taken out of the film. El Topo sets the benchmark for art in film, and I cannot wait to watch Jodorowsky's other work.
It just works. And it all works so fucking well.
"Too much perfection is a mistake."
What is it to be a man? To be raw and animalistic or refined and precise?
I can't say this was as good as The Holy Mountain, but Jodorowsky is Jodorowsky, man.
I just feel bad for his producer.
I thought I had some idea of what to expect from El Topo. I was wrong. Nothing can prepare you for this kind of crazy.
So damn strange. And often remarkable.
Still working out what I thought of it after this, my first time watching the picture.
One thing's for sure, I need to see more Jodorowsky films.
Movies that are slightly off.
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…