El Topo

Movie Information

In Brief: My love for Alejandro Jodorowsky is difficult to overstate, and it all started with El Topo (1970). I'm not alone in that — John Lennon and George Harrison were early advocates of Jodorowsky's surrealist Kabbalistic Western — and there's good reason that it became the first true midnight movie, playing daily for over a year to perpetually stoned audiences at the Elgin Theater in New York. Somewhere on the spectrum of the fantastical between Fellini and Buñuel, Jodorowsky's vision can seem chaotically incongruous to the casual observer. But those who have studied the man and his philosophy will find in El Topo a masterwork of mystical symbolism that eschews traditional film structure and production techniques in favor of something far more visceral and engaging, a bizarre journey into the soul of a sacred madman. Nothing can quite prepare you for what takes place on screen, and those easily traumatized or offended should consider themselves warned that El Topo is a distinctly challenging film. Although it's not quite as slickly composed as the writer/director/star's subsequent film, The Holy Mountain (1973), it is every bit as strange and compelling and remains one of my favorite movies of all time.
Genre: Kabbalistic Western
Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Starring: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Mara Lorenzio, Robert John
Rated: NR

The Asheville Film Society is showing El Topo on Tuesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. at The Grail Moviehouse as part of the Budget Big Screen series. Admission is $6 for AFS members and $8 for the general public. Xpress movie critic Scott Douglas will introduce the film.


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