Monday, September 7, 2009

#476: Santa Sangre (1989)

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Cast: Axel Jodorowsky, Adan Jodorowsky & Blanca Guerra

(Spoiler alert)

Well, there’s certainly no way to describe this film better than the DVD’s back cover. Ahem:

“A bizarre love triangle turns deadly when a circus strongman, Orgo, is caught fooling around with a tattooed lady by his wife, Concha, an aerial performer. Incensed, Concha throws acid on him. Orgo retaliates by sawing off her arms, then killing himself. All of this is witnessed by their son, Fenix (Adan Jodorowsky, the director's son), who goes insane and is sent to an institution. Years later, Fenix (also played by Adan's older brother Axel) is rescued by his armless mother. Angry against the world for her unfortunate circumstances, Concha plans a murderous revenge spree, and maybe play a little piano. And she needs Fenix to be her arms for both tasks. Violence spawns more violence in this terrifying, psychedelic, horrific, and ultimately unforgettable film by Alejandro Jodorowsky.”

I swear it’s not as weird as it seems. Through this disturbing story, Jodorowsky creates a visually stunning film chock full of Oedipal and Freudian symbolism, as well as some hidden criticism of the Christian faith. His style is a mix of Buñuel, the Brothers Quay and a little bit of old-school Tim Burton. The soundtrack is one of the most fun that I’ve heard in a very long time, featuring exclusively Mexican classics such as Dámaso Pérez Prado’s Mambo No. 8.

The best way I could sum up this film is it’s a mix of Big Top PeeWee, Psycho and a pretty intense LSD trip. Despite the impossibility of summarizing the film without mentioning its grotesqueness, it really is a film that’ll keep you thinking.

I give it 1.5 thumbs up. The reason I don’t give it two thumbs up is that it’s simply not a movie I would ever want to watch more than once or twice. The reason I still want to give it more than one thumb up is its ability to be a conversation topic that can last for a long, long time.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):

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