A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child, when he and his family were circus performers: he saw his father cut off the ... See full summary »
Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in 1929 in Tocopilla, a coastal town on the edge of the Chilean desert where this film was shot. It was there that Jodorowsky underwent an unhappy and ... See full summary »
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. Written by
A religious allegorical western of redemption with surrealist imagery.
"El Topo", is probably Jodorowsky's most talked about film next to "Santa Sangre". Like all his films it is bizarre and full of symbolism. El Topo is a cowboy dressed in black. He is out for vengeance, kind of like the Biblical God of the old testament. Him and his son ride through a town of massacred civilians. He wants justice and to win the heart of a girl, Mara. He gives up his only son, in an act that could be looked at like God, or even Abraham. He has to kill seven master gunfighters. After all the violence and carnage, he is injured and taken under the care of cripples, dwarfs and other various misfits. He is reborn, almost like a Bhuddist monk. He becomes like the new testament God, Jesus Christ. El Topo is now like a savior to the oppressed. He vows to dig a tunnel out of the cave so the cripples can live among the villagers. The town is taken over by religious fanatics. Poor villagers are branded with the religious icon by force. An upper class of elitists now dominate the town. "El Topo" is beautiful, and chocked full of violent and disturbing imagery. The film became a popular cult sensation in the early 70's. It was embraced by the likes of John Lennon, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd. More recently celebrities like Marilyn Manson and the Coen Brothers have talked about being strongly influenced by Jodorowsky's work. "El Topo" is important, because it was the first midnight movie. If people could forget about "the Rocky Horror Picture Show" just for a second, they'd realize that this is one of the most important cult films. A bizarre and surreal western that can never be imitated. The only 3 surreal westerns I can think of to pre-date "El Topo" that have many similarities are Brazilian director Glauber Rocha's "Black God, White Devil" (1964) and his follow up "Antonio Das Mortes" (1969) and the Italian Spaghetti western "Django, Kill if you Live, Shoot" (1967).
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