El Topo

Movie Information

El Topo, part of a series of Classic Cinema From Around the World, will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Courtyard Gallery, 9 Walnut St. in downtown Asheville. Info: 273-3332.
Genre: Mystical Surreal Fantasy Western Comedy
Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Starring: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Brontis Jodorowsky, Mara Lorenzio, Robert John
Rated: NR

It’s only been about a year since I wrote a full review of El Topo—when it was being given a limited theatrical release. Another full review of Jodorowsky’s landmark cult film would be a little superfluous, since the original review is available here. I did, however, take another look at the film, and I can’t say that my take on it has changed appreciably. It’s every bit as fascinating, frustrating and off-putting as it ever was. Flashes of genius sit side by side with outright silliness. Moments of inspired filmmaking hold hands with unbridled amateurishness. It’s still a cruel picture (you won’t find a Humane Society disclaimer on this movie), and disturbing because its cruelty seems to be only at the service of Jodorowsky’s narcissism. But as an example of the kind of bold, over-the-top experimentation that was taking place in the arts 30-odd years ago, it’s unarguably important—showcasing both the creativity of the era and its excesses.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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