El Topo marks a shift in the entertainment world at the end of the 1960s and beginning of 1970s. The movie moguls had all but passed on, and cinema had emerged as something that could also be a voice for counterculture. El Topo was a daring and shocking film which was first released in 1969, but was also the film that would start the Midnight Movie Madness. Screened seven nights a week at midnight for seven months straight at the Elgin Cinema in
, El Topo became a cult classic in the years after its release. It was endorsed by John Lennon, which only fueled the flame, making writer/director/star Alejandro Jodorowsky a household name in the early 70s. New York City
So what was this controversial Mexican made film about? It is about a mystic and spiritual gunfighter who must defeat four rivals in his path towards resurrection. This may sound simple, but it is in the odd and allegory filled sequences that the true oddity that the film is becomes apparent. While being ultra violent and shocking, El Topo also plays like an acid trip, drifting through reality and playing tricks on the audience. The film is not meant to be taken literally, but even knowing that I’m not sure I know what it is about.
Whatever it is, El Topo was a phenomenon, and it was a visual masterpiece however disturbing some of the images are. The Blu-ray release is highly anticipated for the high definition presentation of this visually reliant piece of cinema. There are also some special features, including an enlightening commentary track by filmmaker Jodorowsky. There is also an English dubbed track, for anyone unwilling to read subtitles, a trailer, an interview with the director and a photo gallery.