World cinema classics #28


El Topo (1970) – Alejandro Jodorowsky

El Topo is not a Western, it goes further than any Western … El Topo is not a religious film, it contains all religions … This film is bloody… El Topo is miraculous and terrible … El Topo is monstrous and cruel”

This slightly overrated curio premiered exactly 37 years today at the Elgin, New York.

Previous “World Cinema Classics” and in the Wiki format here.

4 thoughts on “World cinema classics #28

  1. Flickhead

    While I’m no fan of El Topo, I don’t think it was “slightly overrated” in its time — at least not critically. In 1970, Jodorowsky’s vision was innovative and unique. The following it attracted were mostly (all?) stoned, so we can take their collective enthusiasm with a grain of salt…or a pinch of hash.

    Not to nitpick, but the Elgin link above refers to the theatre as “decrepit.” While it wasn’t as sanitized as a suburban multiplex, the Elgin was a decent enough venue, certainly no worse than the Garrick or Waverly or Cinema Village or Bleeker Street Cinema…or even the 80 St. Marks, which was essentially a basement refurbished into a screening room. Plus the Elgin had a screen wide enough for CinemaScope.

  2. jahsonic

    Thanks for you generous comments. I agree that it would have been better to see it when it came out, but I was only five at the time… so. I got to see it on a bad VHS copy a couple of years ago. Like with so many of these films, if it is the first time that you are confronted with its sensibilities (the grotesque, morbid, macabre, fantastic) it’s a great film, when you are familiar with its sensibilities, it’s less of a surprise.

    Thanks also with regards to your comments to the Elgin and similar contemporary movie houses. I’ve incorporated them in my wiki. Topos used to be a very important element in the film experience. It is less so now, but I have warm memories of all the art houses I’ve visited here in Belgium.


  3. Flickhead

    The last time I was at the Elgin, it was for a paranoia double bill of Coppola’s The Conversation plus Theodore J. Flicker’s The President’s Analyst, probably around 1978.

    I may be mistaken, but I believe The Elgin was the first theater in the country to show Don Siegel’s cut of Invasion of the Body Snatchers in the late ’70s.

    For more on the Elgin, go here:

  4. Pingback: Alejandro Jodorowsky @70 « Jahsonic

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