Sergio Leone Web Board

Films of Sergio Leone => Other Films => Topic started by: anbeck on June 14, 2004, 01:32:29 PM



Title: El Topo
Post by: anbeck on June 14, 2004, 01:32:29 PM
Hello,

has anybody here seen the movie El Topo (http://imdb.com/title/tt0067866/)? I've heard it is as if Salvador Dalí, Samuel Beckett and Sergio Leone had made a movie together.

If you have seen it, what do you think of it?

Andre


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: cigar joe on June 14, 2004, 04:36:22 PM
Saw it in Missoula Montana about 25+ years ago on the big screen. I think what drew me to it was its Spahetti Western looking lobby card.

Well it is very mystical, surrealistic, very Spaghetti Western influenced, rivers of blood-litterally, and very cool until El Topo transforms into a buddist monk then it gets old very very fast. lol.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: cigar joe on March 17, 2005, 05:20:04 PM
I actually  saw this on the big screen in the 70's  in Missoula Montana, its cool ,very bizzare got an extremely  SW beginning and very symbolic, it evolves into a convoluted mishmash of Mexican Brujo/eastern mystisism, its definitely OUT THERE, lol. Here is just a sample description of it.

"When a man buries a pole in the sand, he automatcally creates a sundial and begins to mark time. To begin marking time is to begin creating a culture"

A pole rises out of the sand El Topo appears dressed entierly in black he carries an open black umbrella. His son Brontis rides behind him except for a hat and moccasins he is naked.

El Topo dismounts and removes from his saddle bag a toy bear and a picture of a woman. The picture is banded in black a symbol of grief.

El Topo "Today you are seven years old. Now you are a man. Bury your first toy and your mother's picture."

The Boy buries the bear but the picture only half way. They ride off under the black umbrella.

Credits appear and run (pictures of moles digging)

Narration: "The mole is an animal that digs tunnels underground searching for the sun. Sometimes his journey leads him to the surface. When he looks at the sun he is blinded."

El Topo and Brontis pass a green tree, sign of the deserts end.

 You hear the cries of vultures, we see a circular pool of blood, a body of a child impaled on a stake, as they ride into the village we see disembowled burros, the corpse of a horse painted red, and 100 women dressed in white, brides, raped and murdered. El Topo rides up to a church splashed in blood, in front of it runs a river of blood. El Topo dismounts, carries Brontis over the river and into the church. Inside hanging from the rafters are the 100 bridegrooms.

Outside the church an old man who is butchered drags himself on the ground his guts trailing behind him. The old man begs El Topo to kill him.

El Topo asks "who were they?"

The old man only repeats his plea, El Topo hands his revolver to Brontis who shoots the old man in the heart.


And it goes on and on, even has a character "Double Man" a guy without legs who carries a revolver and a lantern and wears a cowboy hat, who rides upon the back of a guy without arms, and has a confrontation in a circular space a la Leone.

It goes from brutal SW into some wild sort of Buddist transformation tale where El Topo encounters the Four Masters and becomes a bald monk.

Its got some real bizzare other characters, "The Woman of the Hairy Armpits", "The Large Woman", The Woman of the Large Stomache", "The Scarred Woman", "The Fat Woman", "The Small Woman". Its definitely out there on the fringe, lol.

Shot in Mexico directed by Alexandro Jodorowsky this is one SW derivative thats definitely over the top, very very bloody and packed with stomache turning images, not for the faint of heart.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: pixelated on March 18, 2005, 04:45:23 PM
just picked up a copy and looking forward to checking it out..

been reading a lot of reviews and sounds like a very interesting film..

also picked up  blueberry..(yeah i know it doesnt have a good rep ont his board) . happen to know of any other sg's with a different style like these? not that i know these are similar in style yet, having not viewed either, but people seem to always bring the other up when reviewing one.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: spag fan on March 19, 2005, 10:34:11 AM
Sounds pretty wild! I'll have to make it a point to stumble across this one.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Smoker on March 21, 2005, 02:37:16 PM
Thanks Cigar Joe. Ive been meaning to track this down.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: DJIMBO on March 22, 2005, 04:12:50 PM
mmm, el topo, am i right in thinking there hasnt been a mainstream dvd release of this film, which strictly speaking isnt a spaghetti but is mexican. i would love to see this however. apparently u can get it on US VHS.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Smoker on March 22, 2005, 04:35:34 PM
It always tends to get Arthouse releases. Tartan or Artifical Eye did it on video late 80s/90s in the UK.

Few different version on DVD at xploitedcinema.com (http://www.xploitedcinema.com/search.asp?search=el+topo) 
ive been mulling over it for ages.

Ive seen copies on ebay for about a year and a half now from Canada that have the Japanese SPO cover, but with English blurb on the back. can't make if there expensive bootlegs.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: cigar joe on March 23, 2005, 04:12:40 AM
Its all Mexican with Jodorowsky playing El Topo, if it would have just stayed a SW it would have been kickass and right up there with the best of them and Jodorowsky one of the great SW directors, but you'll see, it's a sort of personal journey/religious transformation flick that kind of looses its way.

But its a good example of how to make a new SW, here Jodorowsky didn't have Almeria or any of the SW actors but he had the iconography down pretty good and Mexico fit the SW genre location look just fine and the freaks and such that made up the extras and actors were great.

I think for anyone to try and reproduce a genuine SW nowadays has to reject (for most of the cast) the usual stock of pretty face actors and almost go for the members of the great unwashed masses. Here is also where post syncronosation dubbing came in handy. They didn't have to be able to act they just had to have the correct look.

PS I haven't seen it for a while but the local Video rental shop "Alternative Video's of Woodstock" (yes that Woodstock)  ;D has "El Topo" on VHS the following film "The Sacred Mountian" on DVD and a third film of his also that I can't remember the name of.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: redyred on March 23, 2005, 11:54:06 AM
I saw a Region 0 copy going on ebay for a pricey £25 starting price/£50 buy it now. A bit dear otherwise I would've got it.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: cigar joe on March 24, 2005, 06:46:11 PM
Was at my local video shop today and low & behold El Topo on DVD, SPO Japan no less, so picked it up and will give it a look-see. They have about 4 or 5 Jodorowsky flicks on the shelves.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Smoker on March 26, 2005, 03:20:59 PM
You proberly don't want to hear this Joe. But if it is the SPO release.
Heard theres been minor edits to nudity. No cuts as such, but some optical censoring to.. ahem.  privates.
One thing Japanese censors are big on.

So well in essense not really bad news. update us your findings.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: cigar joe on March 27, 2005, 04:44:56 AM
Smoker you were right they fuzz out the nudity, and the film has less impact from what I remember way back when, its more of a mystical journey, with SW overtones, but El Topo does look like an SW character and it does have great location shots and quite the collection of freaks.

One memorable showdown has El Topo against three bandits, all are on horse back, one of the bandits blows up a ballon and throws it on the ground it slowly deflates (this is the timing device for the duel, lol).


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Smoker on March 28, 2005, 11:53:52 AM
Smoker you were right they fuzz out the nudity, and the film has less impact from what I remember way back when, its more of a mystical journey, with SW overtones, but El Topo does look like an SW character and it does have great location shots and quite the collection of freaks.

Do you think its not aged well? Or is it just a case its not as controversal.



Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: cigar joe on March 28, 2005, 03:08:51 PM
Its not as contoversal as it might have once been and it doesn't have anywhere near the production values of a Leone film nor memorable lines. It does have what some faint of heart would call disturbing images, its worth a look at any rate.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Smoker on August 12, 2005, 07:34:00 AM
(http://www.die-ritze.com/el_topo/el_topo2b.jpg)
(http://www.die-ritze.com/el_topo/el_topo11.jpg)

Managed to see this last weekend.
Found a grey copy (lifted from the Japanese SPO DVD I think) on ebay.
Reminded me of Herzog's 'Aguirre Wrath of God' in that guerilla film making spirit. But with that Zen/60s counter-culture edge, and a mishmash of different religions, sometimes embracing then critizing.
Very playful and funny in places. I Didn't find it slow going as i been warned by friends. It’s not a talky film. The film feels like that opening to OUATITW in essence at times. Cinema stripped down to its sparse raw elements.
But most importantly for me, some of the most striking looking locations I’ve seen in any film. Noticeably the rope bridge sequence. Any mex-western or Zapata film, nevermind its origin would give its right arm for.
Its obvious Jodorowsky (black-clad gunfighter) is getting a huge kick out of playing cowboys in the Mexico landscape behind any art film manifesto. ;D Really good watch this one.



 


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: titoli on August 12, 2005, 04:25:40 PM
I saw it 2 or 3 times in the '70's at the theatre, together with the other Jodorowski "Sacred Mountain". I still can't understand why. And it is hard for me to consider it a western at all. 


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: Johny_Exhale on August 13, 2005, 09:06:16 AM
LOVE it

im a very big surrealism fan and im very much into avant-garde, especially when mixed with western like Jodorowsky did, its great, its no 'spaghetti western' if you ask me, it lacks too much elements to be conciderd that, but hey i like it, its a matter of taste


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: cigar joe on August 15, 2005, 05:34:10 AM
I agree its something else indeed. That opening sequence is dynamite though, and the suspension bridge set piece sequence later on. Jodorowsky has the iconography down. Goes to show that Mexico probably has infinite locals to shoot western films. You'd think there would be more Mexican Westerns.

El Topo would have made a cool western if it remained in that genre. I still laugh at the deflating baloon (think chiming pocket watch) timer for the one shootout.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Smoker on August 18, 2005, 12:37:56 PM
I agree its something else indeed. That opening sequence is dynamite though, and the suspension bridge set piece sequence later on. Jodorowsky has the iconography down. Goes to show that Mexico probably has infinite locals to shoot western films. You'd think there would be more Mexican Westerns.

El Topo would have made a cool western if it remained in that genre. I still laugh at the deflating baloon (think chiming pocket watch) timer for the one shootout.

And the freak with ladies shoes collection. very novel way of holstering a pair of winchesters on his back in the shape of a X.  ;D


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Smoker on October 28, 2005, 09:22:20 AM
Rumours about Criterion might be releasing this in 2006 along with Holy Mountain.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: HEX on October 28, 2005, 01:33:04 PM
is it only available in full screen?


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Smoker on November 03, 2005, 03:24:36 AM
It was filmed in 4:3.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Firecracker on September 14, 2006, 09:08:02 PM
Just finished watching this midnight movie. Well done indeed.
It's an artsy fartsy film disguised as a strange spaghetti western.
El Topo is a black clad anti-hero that travels the desert with his nude 7 year old son destroying evil beings. Later he ditches his son with some monks and sets off on a journey to defeat the four gun masters of the desert. Each master has his own special technique with a pistol which El Topo must  outwit or trick to win.


The second half of the film (about an hour and 12 minutes in) we find El Topo underground in a cavern  with deformed cave dwellers. The dwellers ask El Topo to dig a tunnel (hence the title "the mole") out of the cave so they may be able to see the light again, El Topo heads out of the cave and into a town where he peddles street entertainment for money in order to buy dynamite to blast a hole in the side of the cave.

The second half is not as entertaining as the first spaghettish half but it managed to keep me interested until the film's bloody conclusion.


of interesting note there is showdown in the beginning of the film that pits El Topo against three bandits. One of the bandits inflates a balloon then let's it go, when the balloon fully deflates that's when the participants of the gundown begin shooting.
There is also loads of gore like castration, cut throats, embalmed animals etc. etc.

I urge all who are interested in spaghetti westerns or film in general to view this.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: Sanjuro on September 15, 2006, 01:48:36 AM
oh damn! sorry Joe...my topic should be moved.

It's all right. We value your view as well. I enjoyed reading it actually. No need to be removed. I'm glad you finally saw it.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: Amaze on November 22, 2006, 01:50:07 PM
anyone else seen it?

"El Topo is Jodorowsky’s unique spiritual western, which takes on the ritual violence of Sam Peckinpah and the grotesque humour of Sergio Leone to roughly sketch an apology on the oppression and arrogance of power. This film is a journey through tragedy and anarchy, myth and revolution, paganism and holy scripture, classicism and surrealism, artistic performance and cinematic action. El Topo remains an essential, raw work of instinctive, visceral power created by one of the most visionary filmmakers in cinematic history."


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Firecracker on November 22, 2006, 01:52:38 PM
Saw it. Like CJ says...the first half is awesome but then when El Topo shaves his head and plays the town clown it gets boring.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: Amaze on November 22, 2006, 01:55:14 PM
would I be wasting my time looking for it? btw, the cover on imdb is very reminiscent of tuco in the desert.


also, have you the holy mountain? made by the same dude, sounds trippy as hell  :o


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: The Firecracker on November 22, 2006, 02:12:04 PM



also, have you the holy mountain? made by the same dude, sounds trippy as hell  :o

No I haven't. El Topo is damn trippy.
I don't think you'll waste your time watching it. It should be viewed at least once.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: pixelated on November 22, 2006, 05:05:49 PM
i enjoyed el topo quite a bit, even the 2nd half.

a few el topo factoids: john lennon bought the rights to the movie, and released it in the US

the soundtrack, i believe, was released on Apple.. the label with all the beatles albums

i've heard this was the first ever "midnight movie"


if you need some help tracking it down, send me a message


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: Banjo on November 27, 2006, 04:10:42 PM
A friend has just traded me a copy so i'm looking forward to seeing this ;)


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: cigar joe on November 27, 2006, 08:44:16 PM
You'll enjoy it, lot of great visuals and Mexican locations.  8)


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: Sanjuro on November 28, 2006, 09:42:48 AM
Probably "El Topo", "Holly Mountain" and "Santa Sangre" are the best films of Jodorowski.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: Banjo on January 10, 2007, 04:38:04 PM
   An absolutely terrible movie,i'm afraid i could only (just about) stand the first hour and a half then had to fast forward to the ending.Despite all the extreme grotesqueness of OTT gore,perversions and worst of all animal cruelty (which i deplore) all used for effect (this stuff totally fails to impress me) this whole mess of a film dragged badly and eventually i found it impossible to stick it out properly to the end.I know,i'm a lightweight ;D
   Sergio Corbucci's westerns are as warped (hey Cigar Joe dya really dislike all the Klu Klux Klan,hippy stuff etc in Django/Specialists as much as you say you do?) as i like 'em to get but at least his movies had humour to them and for all that surreal religious stuff i'd rather watch David Carradine's Kung Fu series anyday.
    I'm gonna put on Django Kill now for a bit of light relief :D


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: cigar joe on January 10, 2007, 06:59:08 PM
In El Topo I wasn't expecting a Western, I already knew it was going to be composed of surrealistic images, I don't care for 2/3 of it.


Title: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Sanjuro on March 17, 2007, 01:54:00 PM
I've just found out that Anchor Bay is going to release "Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky" collection including "El Topo" and "Holly Mountain" in May.

http://www.amazon.com/Films-Alejandro-Jodorowsky/dp/B000NY1E9E/ref=sr_1_2/102-7061919-9936917?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1174160542&sr=1-2



Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Silenzio on March 17, 2007, 01:55:30 PM
Hey, that's swell!


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: The Peacemaker on March 17, 2007, 03:05:29 PM
I heard of El Topo but I have no idea what the movie's about.


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Leone Admirer on March 17, 2007, 03:27:26 PM
It's got a special release in one cinema here in London at the BFI Southbank. Look forward to seeing it.


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Sanjuro on March 17, 2007, 05:37:59 PM
I heard of El Topo but I have no idea what the movie's about.

It's a philosophical satire of politics and religion with a disguise of western. Its surrealistic imagery is a visual feast. It has been a cult film for decades. A truly legendary film. R1 DVD was not available for such a long time while Jodorowsky fans were dying for this. I'm not kidding.


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Sanjuro on March 17, 2007, 05:46:15 PM
Here are El Topo & Holly Mountain trailers and Jodorowsky interview.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwS7UGttAqA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4RK6vZ43hc&mode=related&search=

More info from Amazon.

"Anchor Bay will release a special limited edition collector's box set, The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, on DVD on 5/1/2007(SRP $49.98). The set will contain El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Fando Y Lis on DVD, fully restored and remastered from new HD transfers in anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 audio (El Topo is 125 minutes in Spanish, The Holy Mountain is 114 minutes in English, Fando Y Lis is 93 minutes in Spanish). The box set will also include 2 music CDs containing the soundtracks for El Topo and The Holy Mountain, as well as a DVD of Jodorowsky's never-before-released first film, La Cravate. El Topo and The Holy Mountain will also be available separately (SRP $24.98 each). The El Topo DVD will contain audio commentary by the director, the original theatrical trailer (with English voice-over), a 2006 on-camera interview with the director as well as an exclusive new interview, a photo gallery and original script excerpts. The Holy Mountain DVD will include audio commentary with the director, deleted scenes with commentary, the original theatrical trailer (with English voice-over), the Tarot short with commentary, a restoration process short, restoration credits, a photo gallery and original script excerpts. Fando Y Lis will include audio commentary with the director and the La Constellation Jodorowsky documentary. Subtitles on the discs will be available in English, French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese."


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Banjo on March 17, 2007, 06:04:41 PM
I heard of El Topo but I have no idea what the movie's about.
Sorry to disagree with Sanjuro but i  really hated this movie.Definately surreal, but i didn't care for the extreme imagery of gore and peversity which to me was only used for effect and doesn't make up for the seemingly lack of a cohesive storyline.
The beginning of the film is vaguely sw in style but soon afterwards descends into an overindulgent bore-in fact i was unable to finish to movie.
Peace,save your money for the real mcoy sw stuff as i'm sure theres dozens of gems you've still to enjoy ;)


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Sanjuro on March 17, 2007, 06:45:05 PM
I'm sorry to hear you didn't like the film, Banjo. It's true that Jodorowsky's style is extreme and it's not everybody's cup of tea. I assume reactions to this type of film can be polarized. I'm not sure if one can tell the storyline of this film. Probably no one. It does not have a conventional linear storyline. But as a whole, it presents a journey through the tangible world surrounded by politics and religions in our life which makes what we are and it leads you to a certain meaning of the universe (and that meaming might be different to each viewer). Yes, it's very abstract, but it's that abstractness what I enjoy and I'm sure many others do as well.

For those who have not seen, it's certainly worth the experience even if you hate it afterward.  You don't have to buy just rent it.   


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: tucumcari bound on March 17, 2007, 08:30:21 PM
I'm looking forward to this.


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Eric on March 18, 2007, 01:05:02 PM
I heard of El Topo but I have no idea what the movie's about.

I've seen El Topo but I have no idea what the movie's about.  :D


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: tucumcari bound on March 18, 2007, 03:03:16 PM
I've seen El Topo but I have no idea what the movie's about.  :D

hahahahaha!  ;D Hey, it happens.


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Banjo on March 18, 2007, 04:50:01 PM
Its surrealistic imagery is a visual feast.   
Unfortunately when compared visually to say Ken Russell's lavishly produced surreal masterpieces El Topo is very low budget junk. :(  Though of course the mountain of low budget sw's i have are fine because i love the Italian style of westerns.


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Eric on March 18, 2007, 08:04:21 PM
Unfortunately when compared visually to say Ken Russell's lavishly produced surreal masterpieces El Topo is very low budget junk. :(

Sounds like you haven't seen Lisztomania....


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Banjo on March 19, 2007, 02:24:44 AM
Errr.....no :-\

Maybe i was over-egging Russell with the masterpiece comment.Haven't seen everything he's done but i've always loved Tommy and Devils (totally barmy as i recall)was very memorable too.

 


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Eric on March 19, 2007, 03:05:33 AM
Heh. Well, Lisztomania is certainly memorable. About halfway through the movie, Daltrey as Liszt grows a 15-foot-long penis that some women use as a maypole before turning into vampires (with Wagner as the leader) and being shot with ray guns.

Note the phallic imagery on the cover:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/6300268985.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg)


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: Banjo on March 19, 2007, 07:46:26 AM
Daltrey as Liszt grows a 15-foot-long penis that some women use as a maypole
I vaguely remember reading something about that-lucky lad eh? ;D


Title: Re: El Topo is coming!
Post by: The Firecracker on March 21, 2007, 09:15:05 AM
The first half is good but once El Topo shaves his head and becomes a street entertainer it gets dull fast.


Title: Re: El Topo
Post by: Dust Devil on June 01, 2009, 03:31:46 PM
I like Jodorowsky's surrealism dipped into symbolism and mysticism found here in El Topo, but I understand why this is a hard candy for those not familiar with his other works and interests. It tends to get overly abstract in more than one occasion, and lose the strings of its already shaky plot through (supposedly) meditative sequences, a thing that I also don't like very much. I like these things to be in service of the story, not just thrown in randomly. I usually watch it in two or three times, it is hard to digest it all at once, even for me. (Not that I'm some sort of expert, I mean ''me'' as one of those who (somehow) like it. Note the ''somehow'', I think nobody really likes it all the way.) It isn't an entertaining experience nor does quite live to its (Spaghetti)Western reputation, if you come home from work tired in the evening, this is not the best pick to end the day with. So, not really a (S)W, not really a masterpiece in classic sense, and certainly not radical or scandalous as when it was made, but interesting in its own way. Watch it once, you'll live through it, the wings won't fall off your back (if you have faith;)).


Its got some real bizzare other characters, "The Woman of the Hairy Armpits", "The Large Woman", The Woman of the Large Stomache", "The Scarred Woman", "The Fat Woman", "The Small Woman". Its definitely out there on the fringe, lol.

That moment is hilarious! She says to the black guy to do her nails and raises her arm and then... BBBBRRRRRUSSSSSH! The beast from the armpit makes the entrance! I almost fell from the couch! ;D