There's a good excuse to make that inevitable trip to the National Film Theatre in London this April. El Topo (1970), Alejandro Jodorowsky’s uncut cult masterpiece will screen at the venue on April 6 and then at cinemas nationwide.
A bizarre, ultra-violent, allegorical Western, EL Topo is set in two halves that have been compared to the Old and New Testaments of the bible. In the first half, Jodorowsky plays a violent, black-clad gunfighter who, accompanied by his naked son, sets off on a murderous mission to challenge four zen masters of gunfighting, and learns from each of them a Great Lesson before they die. In the second half, El Topo sets out to find personal redemption, secluding himself in a subterranean community to learn the ways of peace, but unfortunately death is never far away.
El Topo paved the way for cult favourites such as Eraserhead, The Harder They Come and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were huge fans of the film and pushed Allen Klein (then Beatles manager) to buy it for distribution, and subsequently to finance Jodorowsky’s next film The Holy Mountain (1973) which will also screen at the NFT alongside Fando & Lis (1968). All three films have been digitally restored and remastered, under the close supervision of the director himself, who will give an onstage talk at the NFT on April 13.
Jodorowsky at the NFT+