Blog Home - Archives

Don't Miss El Topo & Holy Mountain on 35mm Film!

When I first got into "cult" film (or whatever you want to call it) as a teenager, armed with a 28.8k dial-up modem and the newly released Windows 95, I'd scour the internet for information on what to seek out next. My options were somewhat limited in my neighborhood of Candler Park/Little 5 Points in Atlanta, but the "Cult" sections of the handful of video stores I frequented certainly had enough to keep me busy through most of high school. Any young people growing up with Scarecrow as a resource, you have no idea how lucky you are. In any case, I dove into the works of John Waters, George Romero, Sam Raimi, David Lynch, and others... all directors who I would barely consider "cult" now, but whose early movies were always filed that way. Many websites, however, discussed this Mexican director whose work was apparently so singular, so surreal, and (due to a nasty rights dispute) so hard to find, that he had attained legendary status. His name was Alejandro Jodorowsky, and his output was a small, but highly revered group of films, the two receiving the most praise being El Topo and Holy Mountain. Unfortunately, like most of America, I had no way of seeing these films (outside, of course, spending way too much on the internet for a bootleg). Since then, of course, I've seen both on import DVDs with optical fogging of the (copious amounts of) full-frontal male nudity, and sub-par transfers. While perhaps they are overly notorious due to their scarcity, they certainly are movies that should be seen by anyone interested in, oh I don't know, art film, psychadelic film, outsider art, surrealism, Eastern philosophy, the history of midnight movies, etc. You may not like it, and it may all be bullshit, but they certainly beg to be seen. Now finally, after decades spent in litigious limbo, the films are free to be shown again with absolute integrity. For three more nights you can catch, in beautiful 35mm, a brand new print of El Topo playing at the Grand Illusion (right here in the wonderfully sketchy heart of the U-District). I saw it the other night, and it looks wonderful. The Holy Mountain, my preferred of the two for its sheer gonzo production design and far-out visual playfulness, begins this Friday, February 9th. A super-hot DVD set containing 5 movies and 2 soundtracks will be released this May by Anchor Bay (the people who brought you 20 different editions of the Evil Dead movies!). Don't miss your opportunity to catch these films on the big(ish) screen with the resolution only 35mm FILM can offer, and with the shared experience that only seeing a film in the dark with a bunch of strangers can give.