Jodorowsky Week: The Holy Mountain

After the success of El Topo, Jodorowsky was given a million dollars by John Lennon and Beatles manager Allen Klein to make a new film. That film would lead to a controversy that would see both movies vanish from screens for over thirty years. That controversy would give the film an extraordinary, almost mythical status.

That film is…

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Jodorowsky Week: El Topo

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I was chatting to a work mate yesterday about Jodorowsky, and mentioned probably his best known film, El Topo. He’d never seen it, and asked what it was about.

“Well,” I said. “It’s sort of a Western…”

That was my first mistake. Like The Incal, El Topo wears genre like a disguise, fooling the casual reader into starting the journey, and then dropping the weirdness on them.

El Topo, as the trailer makes clear, is not a Western. It’s closer to a vision quest, an allegorical journey towards self-discovery and reincarnation.

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Jodorowsky Week: The Incal

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It’s a great pity that one of the world’s most visionary directors, Alejandro Jodorowsky, has never been given the opportunity to helm a big science fiction movie. His work has always tended towards the widescreen while exploring the inner spaces of the human consciousness. Crazy Spanish epic berserkaloidity.

He came close, of course, and his years of preparatory work on a version of Dune that he promised would give all the effects of LSD without needing to take the drug are legendary in their own right. They spawned a documentary, and are famous for tangentially introducing HR Giger to Ridley Scott–a meeting without which Alien could have been a very different beast.

However, I’d argue that Jodorowsky has made his SF epic, a work of astonishing depth, scale and complexity. A work that was, for a while, so rare that fanboys would buy the French versions and learn the language just to be able to enjoy. A work that encompasses all of creation, the nature of good and evil, and includes amongst it’s characters the greatest bounty-hunter in the universe, a dog-headed freedom fighter and a concrete seagull.

You’ve got it, true believers. I’m talking about The Incal.

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