For a director who many people will have never heard of Alejandro Jodorowsky ranks among the top movie helmers of the 20th century. And yet with only three films that have come out on DVD recently (out of the eight films he’s directed), Jodorowsky’s about to be re-discovered.
El Topo (1970) was instrumental in the launch of the midnight movie experience, as we know it. Yes there were movies projected at midnight before that, but El Topo set a standard based on its weird cross genre style that mixed religious allegory, westerns, and ultra violence.
Holy Mountain (1973) followed and the meta quota was doubled. In HM Jodorowsky has characters that are loose versions of the planets. Not really a bad choice of parable style storytelling, especially considering that contempo critics have sited Narnia’s C.S. Lewis of doing the same thing.
Santa Sangre followed in 1989 and while that seems like a long time between movies in reality Jodorowsky was attached to direct a version of Dune. A consortium of French producers optioned the rights of which since 1974 and had hired Jodorowsk.
Jodorowsky worked on that film until 1980 and the pre-production included a working cast that included Salvador Dali and Orson Welles. That version of the film was never made but on the Santa Sangre double-disc DVD we’re offered featurettes that cover Jodorowsky’s career trajectory. Jodorowsky on camera is actually quite abrasive but fascinating.
Blu-Ray Discs of El Topo and Holy Mountain debut today, April 26 from Anchor Bay Entertainment, and the Santa Sangre double-disc DVD, from MPI Media Group, came out a few months ago. All of these are essential viewing material. El Topo and Holy Mountain have commentary by Jodorowsky and the SS features include Jodorowsky being interviewed on the British Alan Jones Show.
It’s ironic that David Lynch eventually directed the movie Dune, because for every Lynch film with a severed ear, there’s a Jodorowsky film with a femme with severed arms working as a circus side show, with her son standing behind her and playing her arms.
– Michael Bergeron