Alejandro Jodorowsky received a standing ovation when he presented his 1989 film Santa Sangre at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Friday night to a sold out audience. And that was before the movie screened. The legendary director of El Topo and Holy Mountain announced that a new film would be completed by the summer of 2004. That would make it his first in 15 years. Can't wait. Although Santa Sangre isn't quite the mindbender Holy Mountain is, it's still quite interesting, so I wonder if his new film will measure up. It supposedly has a spaghetti western feel to it and will be shot in Italy . . . already sounds promising. But . . . oh no! Marilyn Manson is a cast member! Well, he didn't ruin Lost Highway. But still, why do otherwise intelligent directors insist on putting him in their films? The Internet Movie Database says it's called Sons of El Topo, but Jodorowsky didn't mention he was making a sequel. "This is a film that will not be shown in theaters," he said. "I am a poet, not a robot."
Jodorowsky mentioned, before he exited the stage, that he can no longer watch Santa Sangre. His son Teo, who died recently, plays a character in the film. As the director tried to escape, fans carrying his comic books swarmed around him, begging for autographs. I knew he had a cult following, but the excitement he generated Friday night was beyond belief.
The first half of Santa Sangre is definitely better than the second half. First half: free associative narrative. In one scene a group of happy Down Syndrome kids snort cocaine, which would normally offend me (my brother has Down Syndrome) but somehow works here. Second half: conventional Italian horror film (it was produced by Dario Argento's brother) with a tidy psychological ending. Somewhat of an homage to Psycho.
I recommend anyone and everyone to see Holy Mountain if you can get your hands on it. Allen Klein, the former Beatles manager, owns the rights to the film and has been notoriously stingy with distribution.
There's lots of Jodorowsky information on the internet. Here's a few links:
Rain Taxi Interview
A Jodorowsky resource page
Mexperimental Cinema Essay