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CINEMA – Alejandro Jodorowsky’s western “hecho en Mexico”

El Topo – Alexandre Jodorowsky – 1970

Born in 1929 from Russian immigrants parents, Jodorowsky is raised in Chile until he is 24. It is after a stay in France that the artist decides to devote himself to theater and filmmaking.

Are you familiar with divination? If yes, you might know this Parisian coffee where Alejandro Jodorowsky comes regularly.
The Chilean, French resident, is often solicited for his knowledge in taromancy.

Before having a consultation, let’s come back on his movie, El Topo, that opens the doors of his singular universe.
In December 1970 his third movie is released: El Topo. The film has been described as a “metaphysical western” or an “acid western” in reference to the testimony it brings to the libertarian aspiration of the beginning of the 70’s.
By the way, one of the principal supporters of the movie was John Lennon himself, who has been involved in the production of an other Jodorowsky’s realization.

This movie tells the story of the journey of El Topo, a dark horse rider in the desert accompanied by his son. El Topo, played by Jodorowsky himself, is a violent, cold and confident character.
This mysterious man is going through scenes of courage and cruelty then it falls down to better reborn from his encounter with the banned of our world.

An anthology of symbols and moral issues are proposed and remained in suspense in order to better let the spectator have its own free interpretation.

Produced in Mexico and filmed in Spanish, the odyssey from El Topo leads us through the mexicans deserts, the region of Monterrey and the surrounding of Mexico.
If the myth of the western is typically North American, the baroque aspect and the omnipresence of the religious symbols are here definitively linked to the Mexican culture.

El Topo instantly arouses the curiosity and the search for a message through the adventures of this man in black. It is also a large visual delirium which will delight an audience in search of a free and creative cinema.
A film to be seen before drawing the cards with Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Paul Bouchard

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