Quick recap: Oh, boy. So there’s this cowboy, called El Topo, who is sort of like God? And he travels around with his naked son as they go around the country killing bad guys. Simple enough, right? But then this girl shows up and El Topo calls her Mara and they do crazy stuff and she convinces him to fight 4 gun masters, as if that won’t end badly. And he does because he wants to keep having sex with her. Being the badass that he is, he indeed conquers all gun masters but does so by trickery and feels guilty about it because he is God. Or something. And then to top it off, Mara runs away with some chick with a man’s voice who shoots him all stigmata style before they run away together. End scene. The second part is even weirder and it involves little people and disabled people and El Topo getting involved in a cultist village and knocking up some girl. My brain exploded at this point.
Fun (?) Trivia: Alejandro Jodorowsky, who played El Topo, cast his young son in the movie to play the naked kid running around in the desert. That’s sort of a messed up thing to do and apparently Jodorowsky felt bad about it at some point and invited the boy to the backyard to dig up a toy and picture of his mother, just like the beginning scene. He then said ‘Now you are 8 and you have permission to be a kid’. Still doesn’t quite make up for your dad showing the world your junk at 6 but it’s something, I suppose.
My thoughts: 5 minutes into the film and I think I literally yelled out, ‘WTF!’ as El Topo guides his naked son among the bloody dead villagers. They come across a man who is dying and being the good father that he is, hands the gun to the boy to put the man out of his misery. After that there is some crazy nonsense with the bandits doing all sorts of sadistic stuff to a group of monks and I think at one point I just shrugged my shoulders and told myself to just stop thinking because it wasn’t worth it.
This is the sort of movie that screams, ‘art house’. Jodorowsky is some sort of crazy intellectual guy and put a ton of references to religion into this film of which I caught maybe 10%. It was only after reading the Wikipedia page for this movie that I realized the 4 gun masters represented different Eastern religions. I still don’t know what they are and as I have mentioned, my mind exploded at some point so I don’t care to look it up.
As a whole, El Topo is disturbing. Everything from the nudity to buckets of blood, to the exploitation of the disabled and little people. I knew at some level I was supposed to watch this all the while stroking my fake goatee and taking long puffs of my cigar and every few minutes leaning back and saying, ‘ah,yes. Clever fellow, this Jodorowsky’. But there were too many scenes that I just couldn’t get past. El Topo reeks of pretentiousness, and to find out John Lennon financed its release makes all the more sense.
In order to find some sort of positive in this movie, I will admit that I thought the ending was rather fitting, as El Topo set himself on fire and his son donned the black suit and became the new El Topo. I also liked that last scene because it meant the movie was OVER.
Final review: 1/5. I understand why this film was included on the list but I’ll be damned if I have to sit through it again.
Up next: Batman