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".
In a Chilean little town, the son of an uprooted couple, formed by a rigorous communist father and a loving but weak mother, tries to pave his own path in a society that does not understand their Jewish-Ukrainian origins.
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
During the scene in which El Topo's female companion tries to drink water from a river, only to discover that it is bitter in taste, El Topo tells her that Moses found water in the desert and that the people tried drinking it but that it was bitter and so they called it "marah". In Hebrew, "marah" means "bitter". Marah is also one of the locations which the Torah identifies as having been traveled through by the Israelites during the Exodus. See more »
The opening scene is of a man on horseback riding through the desert, although the horse is on deep sand the sound is of a horse on hard ground. See more »
[to his son]
You are seven years old. You are a man. Bury your first toy and your mother's picture.
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The closing credits in the English-dubbed version of El Topo state that ABKCO Films copyrighted the film in 1967; however, ABKCO didn't purchase (any rights to) it until June of 1971! See more »
I saw this movie about a dozen times from the early to mid '70's. It was labeled "a cult movie." While I never joined a cult, I was moved to see it a many times as I did because it was a metaphor that spoke strongly to my own spiritual searches at the time. The western motif and travels of our hero/anti hero spoke eloquently of the "mole's search for the light." While the violence was overwhelming at times, I didn't think is redundant or too much. Western society, perhaps all great civilizations, was built on a tremendous amount of violence. The scenes in the mountain with those marginalized from society and their subsequent "liberation" out of the mountain and into the light was an awesome scene. The violence that took place after wards and our own here's self immolation was very poignant. I continue to look for the movie today and hope that whatever is preventing it from being available in North America will be resolved soon. I am very curious to observe my own responses to this film today. I have seen other movies by Jordorowsky and none equaled the impact that El Topo had upon me.
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