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Topo, El (1970)

See the naked young Franciscans whipped with cactus. See the bandit leader disemboweled. See the priest ride into the sunset with a midget and her newborn baby. What it all means isn't exactly clear, but you won't forget it.

Original Title : Topo, El
Director : Alejandro Jodorowsky
Writer : Alejandro Jodorowsky
Genre : Western
Country : Mexico
Language : Spanish
Producer : Juan López Moctezuma, Moshe Rosemberg, Saúl Rosemberg, Roberto Viskin
Music : Alejandro Jodorowsky
Nacho Méndez
Photography : Rafael Corkidi
Distributor : Douglas Films, Allen & Betty Klein and Company (ABKCO), Abkco Films, Amuse Soft (Amyuuzu Sofuto) Hanbai Inc., Amuse Video Inc., Anchor Bay Entertainment, Caméra One, Criterion Pictures, DMEG, Gruppo Minerva International, Nikkatsu, Nouveaux Pictures, Pretty Pict
IMDB ID : 0067866
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poster for "Topo, El" by Alejandro Jodorowsky (1970)
Topo, El (1970) - Alejandro Jodorowsky
 

Starring

Alejandro Jodorowsky El Topo
Brontis Jodorowsky Son of El Topo, as a boy
José Legarreta Dying Man
Alfonso Arau Bandit
José Luis Fernández Bandit
Alf Junco Bandit
Gerardo Zepeda Bandit
René Barrera Bandit
René Alís Bandit
Federico Gonzáles Bandit
Vicente Lara Bandit
Pablo Leder Monk
Giuliano Girini Sasseroli Monk
Cristian Merkel Monk
Aldo Grumelli Monk
Mara Lorenzio Mara
David Silva The Colonel
Ignacio Martínez España Armless man
Eliseo Gardea Saucedo Legless man
Héctor Martínez Master
Paula Romo Woman in black
Bertha Lomelí Gypsy, Mother of Master
Juan José Gurrola Master
Víctor Fosado Master
Agustín Isunza Master
Jacqueline Luis Small woman
Carlos Lavenant Executioner
Eliseo Pereda Executioner
Pablo Marichal Slave
Beatriz Beltrán Lobo Woman
Carmen Lamadrid Woman
Pepita González Woman
Cecilia Leger Woman
Elvira Agosti Woman
Antonio Álvarez Prisoner
Rueben Gonzáles Prisoner
Víctor Manuel Osorio Prisoner
José Pérez Bustos Prisoner
Eduardo Danel Prisoner
Álvaro García Prisoner
José Antonio Alcaraz Sheriff
Felipe Díaz Garza Deputy (as Felipe Diazgarza)
Patricio Pereda The child
Marcos E. Contreras Boxer
Arturo Silva Boxer
Robert John Son of El Topo, as a man
Julián de Meriche Priest (as Julien de Meriche)
Valerie Tremblay Woman in church (as Valerie Trumblay)
José Luis González de León Man in church (as J.L. González de León)
Francisco González Salazar Shopkeeper
Pedro García Man with carrot
 

Plot

The gunfighter El Topo ("The Mole") and his young son ride through a desert to a village, whose inhabitants have been massacred. Bandits are nearby, torturing and killing the survivors. El Topo rescues a woman (Mara), who leads him on a mission to find and defeat the four master gunmen of the desert. Leaving his son with a group of monks, El Topo and Mara complete the mission, accompanied by a mysterious woman in black. The women leave El Topo wounded in the desert, where he is found by a clan of deformed people who take him to the remote cavern where they live. Awakening years later, he goes with a dwarf woman to a nearby town, promising to dig a tunnel through which the cave-dwellers can escape. They find the town run by a vicious sheriff and home to a bizarre religious cult. El Topo's son, now a man, is a monk in the town. The completion of the tunnel leads El Topo, the townspeople, and the cave-dwellers to a bloody and tragic end.
 

Comments

So far I had only seen Jodorowsky's "Santa Sangre", but that one happens to be my all-time favorite film! One thing's for sure with this director whenever you check out one of his films for the first time: you should expect the unexpected and prepare yourself for not believing what your own eyes are observing most of the time. Just in case you really have to label "El Topo" with a genre, it would presumably be Western, but that still doesn't give you any idea of the film's content whatsoever. Within the first ten minutes alone, things occur that are already too weird to mention (like grown men shooting at women's shoes and bandits dancing and caressing monks!!) and these sequences aren't relevant to the actual plot yet! Well, I'd love to summarize the main story lines, but the truth is that I didn't understand one iota of it all. The pivot character El Topo, portrayed by the director himself, rides through the desert with a 7-year-old naked kid in tow. He exchanges the kid for a beautiful woman after defeating a gang of thugs and goes on a quest to visit four "masters" of the desert. Subsequently, he joins a community of mountain people and fervently helps them coming out of their dark habitat and into the open world. Yes, it's a very vague description, but that's because I didn't know what was going on anyway. Most likely, you won't either and that's not an insult to your personal intellect! It's just a messed up movie that you mainly just need to watch for its visual brilliance, symbolism and extremely stylish choreography. Every single character that walks through the screen is a demented & complex individual, and the protagonist is the absolute biggest weirdo of them all. He actually claims to be God himself - and really believes it, too - and does the most unpredictable things imaginable. Admittedly, this film isn't suitable for entertainment purposes. It's an intense and demanding experience that you should approach with an open state of mind and loads of patience. Purely elite cinema that can't be compared to anything else ever made.
 
poster for "Topo, El"
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Topo, El (1970) - Alejandro Jodorowsky
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