Monday, June 23, 2014

Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, The

Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, The (1971)
Director(s): Alejandro Jodorowsky
Movie rating: 8/10 DVD rating: 9/10 DVD Release Date: 05/01/2007 Running Time: 393 minutes Rating: NR Disc Details

Anchor Bay

List Price: $49.98

Running Time: 393 minutes

Special Features:
Feature film: El Topo (1971)
Feature film: Fando y Lis (1968)
Feature film: The Holy Mountain (1973)
Short film: El Cravate (1957)
Soundtrack CD: El Topo
Soundtrack CD: The Holy Mountain
Documentary: La Constellation Jodorowsky
Director's commentary on the three feature films
Theatrical trailers
Featurette: The Tarot (with commentary)
Photo galleries and script excerpts on each feature film
Restoration featurette for The Holy Mountain
Deleted scenes for The Holy Mountain
A Conversation with Alejandro Jodorowsky

Video Format:
Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)

Language Tracks:
El Topo: Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
El Topo: Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
The Holy Mountain: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
The Holy Mountain: English (Dolby Di

English, Spanish, Brazillian Portuguese, French

Closed Captions:

6-disc Keep Case

Film & Disc Review, Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, The
by Rusty White
reviewed: 2007-05-10

When I was a budding film buff (circa 1970) I spent many hours in the main branch of the Memphis Public Library reading movie books. I wasn't old enough to check out the ones I wanted to, so I spent many hours reading about films that I hoped to see one day. Alejandro Jodorowsky's "El Topo" was forbidden fruit for me. I remember being mesmerized by the tempting images involving gunfighters, freaks and lesbians with whips. The library had a copy of the script which I read over and over, trying to make out what secrets Jodorowsky would reveal. It was several years before I saw the film. I'm not sure I understood it even then. Tell the truth, I'm not sure I get it today. I am still mesmerized by the director. His work can be as tough to fathom as a Fellini film. In fact, I'm almost positive that some of his films can be only understood by Mr. Jodorowsky himself. Alejandro Jodorowsky has made eight films during his career. Anchor Bay's boxed set includes the first four films in his oeuvre.

La Cravate (1957)

This long-lost short film is the directorial debut of Alejandro Jodorowsky. A copy of the film was discovered in a German attic in 2006. This short film is a pantomime adaptation of a Thomas Mann novel. The plot involves a Man trying to impress a woman. She can't be impressed. The Man discovers a shop in which one can trade in their head. He enters the shop at the same time as a boxer. The Boxer changes his head with that of a dapper Casanova type. The Man is horrified and leaves the shop. He returns to the Woman only to be rebuffed again. In desperation, the Man returns to the shop and trades in his head. I leave it at that. The 16mm film was shot in color. Lots of close-ups. Look up Art Film in the dictionary and you will find this or a film similar to it. The message of self-acceptance is pretty straight forward. "La Caravate" is the most coherent film in this series. It isn't the most entertaining or challenging of the set.

Fando y Liz (1968)
This film will evoke three responses. 1: That sucked. 2: WTF! 3: OK, who slipped me the hit of acid? I think most people will have the second reaction. What the fuck! The movie doesn't suck, but it does make no sense. Of course, it is a surreal film, so it may not suppose to make sense. The problem is that it doesn't really evoke much thought either. Jodorowsky saved that for his next two films. "Fando y Liz" was Jodorowsky's first feature film. It tells the tale of two young lovers searching for paradise in a post-apocalyptic world. Fando can't get it up. Liz is a paraplegic. They hear about Tar, the last city to survive the apocalypse. Tar represents paradise. Nothing will be denied the senses in Tar. The pair sets out on an odyssey across a rubble strewn landscape. They encounter increasingly weird people and events. There are scenes in the movie that are very hard to stomach. It isn't hard to see why this film found an audience with the drugged-out counter culture folks of the 60s.

El Topo (1970)

Jodorowsky's best known film is the cult classic "El Topo." A surreal, philosophical, Zen, Spaghetti Western. Jodorowsky plays El Topo, a great gunfighter in the world. This crazed and ultra violent film began the midnight movie craze. "El Topo" does make the viewer think. In fact, you can read just about any message into this movie that you want to and probably be right. In order to become the best gunfighter in the world, El Topo must defeat the four masters of the desert. Each of the battles is rich in social, political and religious symbolism. The final section of the film has El Topo as some sort of monk bringing the wrath of God down on the rich, hypocrites that rule this strange land. There is much more to the film. The visuals are stunning. This was Jodorowsky's final film shot in 16mm.

The Holy Mountain (1973)

This movie was a revelation. Though surreal, "The Holy Mountain" is the most coherent of Jodorowsky's feature films. Jodorowsky the seeker takes the viewer on a psychedelic journey into the soul of man. The film is divided into three segments and culminates in a quest for immortality upon the Holy Mountain. The movie is funny and profane. There are few Icons which do not get trampled into the mud. The movie also includes many memorable quotes: "You sacrifice completes my temple of 1,000 testicles" and "Rub your clitoris on the mountain!" Believe it or not, each of these lines actually makes sense in the context of what you are watching. While "El Topo" cemented Jodorowsky's place in the pantheon of cult film directors, "The Holy Mountain" shows him to be a talent on par with the likes of Ken Russell. The movie will surely offend as many people as it touches. I was refreshed by how funny and accessible the movie was. The ending calls into question all of Jodorowsky's other work. "The Holy Mountain" is a movie that requires a number of viewings to even come close to understanding. I'm not sure if all of the symbolism is understandable. Even with the great commentary track. One thing is for sure, the movie is entertaining and maybe even enlightening.

The Disc
A surreal trip down memory lane, especially if you memory was destroyed by a number of acid trips. Great picture, sound and extras.

Picture Quality: 10/10
From a technical POV, "The Holy Mountain" is light years ahead of the other films in the set. The movie is presented in beautiful 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It was also shot on 35mm. The other films in the boxed set were shot on 16mm. Each film was restored. The only artifacts I saw were on the short film "La Caravate."

Sound Quality: 10/10
What great sound tracks. What amazing sound effects! What chilling and horrific noises! These films are as aurally stunning as they are visually stunning.

Easter Eggs:
No Easter Eggs Found on Disc.

Extra Features: 10/10
Music lovers and soundtrack collectors will love that the boxed set includes the soundtrack CDs for "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain." I enjoyed the second soundtrack the most. An excellent mix of rock and Eastern/New Age.

The three feature films included 'can't be missed' audio tracks by this great director. All three tracks helped me appreciate the films even more. Watch the movies without the tracks first. If you are someone who will buy this boxed set, you already plan on watching each film a number of times. This is a set for film students if there ever was one.

The DVD includes the 1994 documentary "La Constellation Jodorowsky." The 91-minute film features extensive interviews with the director and others such as Peter Gabriel and Marcel Marceau. The film spans the scope of Jodorowsky's career up until that point. Fascinating stuff. The same can be said for the interview with Mr. Jodorowsky on the "El Topo" DVD.

The Final Word:

This boxed set can be a journey of discovery for the spiritual seeker. It can also be a semester in film school for the up-and-coming film student. What it is for the film buff is pure ecstasy.

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