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.
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".
Hollywood studios would only let Alejandro Jodorowsky make the film provided that it would be 1h 50 mins long. Jodorowsky declined, stating that he wanted to make approximately a 15 hour long film. See more »
Chris Foss, Artist - DUNE:
In an ideal world he wouldn't have needed a script. You could have set Alejandro down and he would have talked the story, you know. He would have said the words.
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If you loved El Topo and The Holy Mountain in the 1970s, even if you think that you've now grown up and put such mystical mumbo-jumbo behind you, you've still got to see this documentary about a movie that was never made. How, you may ask, can a film be made about another film that never existed? Well, in the tale spun by Alejandro (and his tale- telling, even in his broken English, is as fine as that of Spalding Gray), someone told him about the book Dune, by Frank Herbert, and, at a time when producers were willing to shower Alejandro with money, Alejandro said, "That will be my next movie." He had not read the book. It's not clear from the movie that he EVER read the book. But he went about hiring the best illustrators to create the most fantastic storyboard ever made, a huge volume the size of an artbook merged with the Unabridged Oxford, that illustrated the complete film, beginning to end. It only roughly corresponded to the novel, but to Alejandro, that did not matter. He told the story that he wanted to tell, about how one messianic figure, Paul (who would be depicted by Alejandro's son), would liberate, not just the planet Arrakus, but the entire universe. And all of this would have been depicted visually with special effects, in 1974.
In Alejandro's tale, this film was $5 million away from being made. And it would have starred David Carradine, Orson Welles, and Salvador Dali, Mick Jagger among others. Alejandro's tales of finding these various stars and offering the roles are fantastical in themselves, and highly dubious, but for my to retell the tales here would spoil some of the best parts of the movie.
I attended the movie with someone who had not seen Alejandro's movies, nor had he read Dune (although it's on his must-read list), but he loved the movie because (1) it's a great tale, and (2) the comic book artists and special effects people that Alejandro employed, and who were working on the film when they pulled the plug, have gone on to great fame in other films and in comic art. And my friend was mostly nonexistent in the 1970s.
I remember Alejandro coming to speak at my college in 1971, and he was spellbinding, and he is still spellbinding in this film.
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