El Topo

Film
BODY ECLECTIC Jodorowsky assembles the weird.
BODY ECLECTIC Jodorowsky assembles the weird.

Time Out says

A cult object extraordinaire, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s psychowestern rings out with rude noises: lots of raucous “evil guy” laughter, bizarre lines of growled dialogue (“I am God!”) and that fakey bullet-ricochet sound from all the Leone movies. El Topo still looks and plays like half-digested Buuel more than 35 years on. If it ends up working as well at midnight as it once did, it will be less a tribute to the movie’s own merits than to the lasting appeal of escaping into solemn silliness—or other altered states.

The pseudoreligious plot—Jodorowsky himself plays a mysterious black-clad horseman who rides into the desert with the frequently nude Mara (Lorenzio) to kill several “masters” and thus be redeemed—was a subject of much half-baked dispute in its day. Don’t waste your time with that. El Topo will always be about its torrents of vibrant red movie blood, its sapphic clinch between two scratch-happy wild women, its climactic rampage of freaks and lepers. The movie’s lure is sensual and unflagging; that’s what makes it, for all its arty absurdity, the last great movie of the 1960s. Does none of this interest you? Poor thing. (Opens Wed 13; IFC Center.)—Joshua Rothkopf

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