A former circus artist escapes from a mental hospital to rejoin his armless mother - the leader of a strange religious cult -, and is forced to enact brutal murders in her name as he becomes "her arms".
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
I have seen three movies by Alejandro Jodorowsky - 'El Topo', 'The Holy Mountain' and 'Santa Sangre' - each are amazing, but 'El Topo' to me is the most successful. I was almost going to say "most accessible" but that would be misleading! It's still a difficult movie, steeped in religious and occult symbolism and allegory. I doubt whether anyone but Jodorowsky himself truly "gets it", but it is still the most watchable and entertaining of the three, and the best introduction to his work.
Jodorowsky not only writes and directs he plays the title role (translates as "The Mole"), a mysterious black-clad gunfighter who claims to be God. I won't bore with a detailed retelling of the plot, but it initially involves El Topo's quest to find and fight the four masters of the desert, and ends up with him becoming part of strange community of outcasts who live underground. But there's much more to than that, just watch it for yourself.
'El Topo' was a cult favourite thirty years ago, and still stands as one of the most extraordinary movies ever made. Nobody but Jodorowsky has even come close to repeating it. Currently difficult to find, but persevere, it's worth looking for. A truly unique piece of cinema that no-one who watches will ever forget!
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