“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.” So begins Alejandro Jodorowsky’s classic “El Topo,” a surrealistic journey mixing religion, 1960s “Theatre of Cruelty,” Western film motifs and downright craziness into a film that took the underground by storm and, when it began screening at New York’s Elgin Theater in 1970, sparked the Midnight Movie phenomena.
Long unavailable in any form in the United States, ABKCO Films and Anchor Bay have released to DVD “El Topo” and two other mind-bending Jodorowsky classics, “The Holy Mountain” and “Fando Y Lis” in a set entitled “The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky.” These astonishing films, which have been fully restored and remastered, are housed in a special limited edition collector’s box set featuring the “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain” soundtracks and “La Cravate,” Jodorowsky’s first film, never-before released; for $49.98, with “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain” also available separately at $24.98 each.
Classic Americana and avant-garde European sensibilities collide with Zen Buddhism and the Bible as master gunfighter and mystic El Topo (played by writer-director Jodorowsky) tries to defeat four sharp-shooting rivals on a bizarre path to allegorical self-awareness and resurrection. Jodorowsky’s high budget follow up effort, “The Holy Mountain” (1973), takes his psychedelic allegorical mastery to another level. Grotesque, mystical and sacrilegious, it is an excursion into the meaning of earthly wealth and immortality. Rounding out the set is Jodorowsky’s first full-length feature film, “Fando Y Lis.” Based on Jodorowsky’s memories of a play by surrealist Fernando Arrabal, it caused an uproar in the avant-garde community when it premiered in 1967 in Acapulco. A must for cinema lovers and cult-film fans who want to discover the precursor to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.