Blu-Ray Review: El Topo


El Topo and his son on a horse

Many films claim to be unusual, different or just plain strange. Profess to be totally removed from anything we’ve ever seen before. Sadly, very few live up to this billing. Often borrowing wholesale from other movies or pale imitations of someone else’s imagination. This cannot be said for anything Alejandro Jodorowsky has made. He’s one of the most distinctive and unusual directors. His Dune would have been a masterpiece and yet his opus, El Topo, is something that almost defies description.

Travelling across the desert, on horseback, with his young son (Brontis Jodorowsky), El Topo (Alejandro Jodorowsky) arrives in a town whose inhabitants have been slaughtered. He hunts down and kills the perpetrators, leaving his son at a mission but taken a woman (Mara Lorenzio) they were holding hostage with him. She persuades the master gunfighter to duel with four Zen masters who each bestow knowledge on him with their dying breath. It gets stranger from there.

El Topo is one of those films which often makes little sense but is entirely captivating with it. It must be said that Jodorowsky is not a friend of the animals here, so be warned, and his nightmarish western is not for the feint of heart. As a viewer, all you can do is sit back, take all the floor drugs and imbibe the craziness. It’s an experience like no other. A mix of mythical cult abstraction and violent biblical avenger. El Topo is a true one-off.

Special edition contents:

  • New 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative approved by Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation in 1.85:1 and 1.37:1 original aspect ratios
  • Uncompressed mono 1.0 LPCM audio and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Original Spanish and English soundtracks
  • Newly translated English, Spanish and French subtitles
  • Audio commentary by Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • Jodorowsky remembers El Topo, newly filmed interview filmed in Paris
  • A Conversation with The Son of El Topo, a newly filmed, extensive interview with Brontis Jodorowsky who stars in El Topo
  • The Father of Midnight Movies, an archival interview with Jodorowsky filmed in 2007
  • Original trailer
  • Image galleries

El Topo is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 2 August.

Previous Film Review: The Boy Behind the Door
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