Alexandro Jodorowsky's first film after a 10-year hiatus, and only his third since his notorious 1971 surrealist western EL TOPO, SANTA SANGRE is at least a decade out of step. Despite the film's surrealist trappings, parody is at the heart of this effort.
After a brief opening scene involving a Christ-like nude perched on a tree limb in what appears to be the cell of a sanitarium, the film promptly flashes back to tell the story behind the young man's present state. As a youngster, Fenix (played as a child by Jodorowsky's son Adan, then as an adult
by his elder son, Axel) is billed as the world's youngest magician. He performs his act for the Circus del Gringo, run by his womanizing father, Orgo (Guy Stockwell), and his mother, Concha (Blanca Guerra), a crazed religious fanatic. Concha, enraged by her husband's latest infidelity, attacks
Orgo's genitals with acid. Orgo, a knife thrower, retaliates by slicing off Concha's arms before slitting his own throat. Back in the present, Fenix is coaxed into escaping from the sanitarium by the armless Concha. He becomes her vengeful "hands," both in a bizarre nightclub act and in an orgy of
SANTA SANGRE could hardly be described as boring: gorgeously photographed and crammed with the startling imagery for which Jodorowsky is justly famed, it's never less than beautiful. Yet the film can't help but remain stubbornly earthbound because of its derivative, slasher-movie scenario,
obviously the influence of producer Claudio Argento, the younger brother of splashy Italian horror director Dario Argento. Whether it would have been a better film had it been more purely Jodorowsky's work is debatable. Still, if Jodorowsky is not yet worthy of inclusion in the pantheon with
Bunuel, he remains, nonetheless, in a class by himself. Although obviously not for every taste, SANTA SANGRE is a film that no adventurous moviegoer can afford to miss.
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- Released: 1989
- Rating: R
- Review: Alexandro Jodorowsky's first film after a 10-year hiatus, and only his third since his notorious 1971 surrealist western EL TOPO, SANTA SANGRE is at least a decade out of step. Despite the film's surrealist trappings, parody is at the heart of this effort.… (more)