La Cravate

Two reels, color. Chaplin via Marceau. Silent, music by Edgar Bischoff.

The man who lost his head over a girl and could not find it anywhere, a girl takes it home for the mantelpiece, under a bell jar it goes at night.

The other half lives and works the eventual conjunction, with a warning against overmuch politesse, the title article is strictly to be worn ailleurs.

Co-directed with (“réalisé par”) Saul Gilbert and Ruth Michelly.


Fando y Lis

“Another rose, Mr. Pound?”

“Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a wondrous city called Tar. At that time all the cities were intact and flourishing because the final war had not yet begun, when the great catastrophe occurred all the cities crumbled, except Tar.

“Tar exists today, if you know where to look for it you will find it and when you get there you’ll be presented with wine and water and play a wind-up music box, when you come to Tar you will help harvest grapes and pick up scorpions hidden under white rocks, when you come to Tar you’ll know eternity, you'll see a bird that drinks one drop of water from the ocean every hundred years, when you come to Tar you will understand life and become a cat and a phoenix and a swan and an elephant and a baby and an old man, you'll be alone and in company, love and be loved, sharing the same space, and yours will be the seal of seals, as you approach the future you'll find ecstasy, it will overwhelm you and never abandon you.”

A poem of a play by Arrabal, a riot in Acapulco like The Playboy of the Western World in Dublin (the material goes to a surprising degree into Jodorowsky’s unfilmed Dune).

Canto Primero. Herostratus (dir. Don Levy), The Bed Sitting Room (dir. Richard Lester), William Klein, Pete Walker, the flaming piano is a legacy of Buñuel (Un Chien Andalou) by way of Dali, the graveyard fantasy is contemporaneous with Bye Bye Braverman (dir. Sidney Lumet)...

“The tree took refuge in a leaf, the house in a door, the city in a house.”

Canto Segundo, not so very far from Werner Herzog. The “labyrinth” outside the city is contemporaneous with Barbarella (dir. Roger Vadim), e Fando è il mondo, prehistoric landscape, shrouded figure antedating Mahler (dir. Ken Russell), Hour of the Wolf (dir. Ingmar Bergman), women with balls and whips (cf. Godard’s Alphaville) not so very far from Russ Meyer, Fellini out of Kafka, Black Moon (dir. Louis Malle)...

Canto Tercero. Goats and drag queens (they dress Fando as Lis and Lis as Fando), La Chinoise (dir. Jean-Luc Godard) or Dziga Vertov Group agitprop (no slogans, just their names, like the dinner duel in Charlie Bubbles, dir. Albert Finney), a blind beggarly bloodsucker and the father of it (shades of El Ataúd del Vampiro, dir. Fernando Mendez, Fando tries it), next as they say in burlesque the mother of us all (cf. Richardson’s The Loved One and Ferreri’s La Grande bouffe), father and the firing squad, not so very far from John Waters...

Canto Cuarto. Memories of the mountebanks (cf. Hitchcock’s Marnie and Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm), a Gadarene litter, the bait and the buzzards, Woman in the Dunes (dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara), “the stone of madness” (cf. Kershner), the broken handcuffs (esposas), the broken drum, La Strada (dir. Federico Fellini), cf. Russell’s Tommy...

Roger Greenspun of the New York Times, “unpleasant whimsy.” Michael Atkinson (Village Voice), “adorable, preposterous”. Film4, “lyrical fantasy”.

Solomon on wisdom as “the principal thing,” cf. Losey’s La Truite.


El Topo

A great work of the cinema, almost beyond all others.

Like Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, a tale of the Old and New Testaments.

That said, and that is all, one really must regard the critics as a queer culture phenomenon.

Boulez’ tunnel, eventually.


The Holy Mountain

The Temptation of Christ (you will recognize the tower of Simon Magus from Victor Saville’s The Silver Chalice).

Christ, that thief in the night, sustains this burlesque farrago of semi-mystical and mystical inundations because, like you, he is mortal, likewise immortal, and can take it.

Much wisdom derives from the adventure, be assured, or wherein would lie the temptation?

A most brilliant improvisation upon the theme of enlightenment, what else should Satan be after? It is all so very seeming, and logical.

Jodorowsky only drops the joke in the theater, one and all are told on the mountainside it’s only a show.

Buñuel hardly labored in the Mexican vineyards for nothing, pace the critics.

Jodorowsky’s next project, “the most important picture in the story of humanity,” was reassigned to David Lynch.


Une fable panique

The magnificent opening shot uses a slow pan and a zoom lens to convey in a continuous motion the village waking and its elephants setting out to the day’s work.

The simultaneous birth of an English baby girl named Elise and a baby elephant named Ganesh but called by the English with the title of this film is highly auspicious or, as film critics say, portentous.

The vision of India is replete to the point of epiphany (Krishna among the villagers), Renoir’s The River is relied upon for this a good deal, again auspiciously.

Something deadly in the land, philistine traders, portentous... deadly comical in the vein of Satyajit Ray.

This is extraordinarily well-situated to address Lean’s A Passage to India in a sort of mirror fashion. The quality of panic fear adduced is a feature of the better-known work as well, of course, famously. Quite a panic fable on a traitress to the Raj.

TV Guide, “confusing, pseudo-art film”. Eleanor Mannikka (Rovi), “ultimately unpalatable”.

The Maharajah’s cotton candy shipped in from Las Vegas and kept under a bell jar from the heat is by way of La Cravate, to be sure.

The latter half begins as magisterially as the first after the manner of antiphony with the Maharajah of Mysore setting out in grand array for the royal hunt. Jodorowsky recapitulates the opening shot in the course of this sequence, a secondary and more literal echo of the theme, as it were.

Cp. Tarzan Goes to India (dir. John Guillermin). The prodigies of the filming are part and parcel of the style. Samadhi the mahout, Ram Baba, “what is that? Strange, it smells like monkey shit.”

“It is monkey shit.” There is Guillermin’s Sheena as well, which is to say the bee-stung bull of Mark Twain’s Joan.

It ends in yet another epiphany, cp. The Elephant God, dir. Satyajit Ray.


Santa Sangre

As they say in Casablanca, “qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!

Postmodernism, in a word. It means arms for the Venus de Milo, maybe even another limb.

There is not a director anywhere who even approaches this level of genius, and there is Jim O’Connolly (Berserk), not to mention John Sturges (The Capture).


The Rainbow Thief

“Lovers of call girls are fat and sassy,” says Baudelaire’s Icarus, who leaves no name. Their dogs eat like princes (cf. Conway’s A Tale of Two Cities), a prince goes out from amongst them to live in a sewer, where he contrives to attain enlightenment and is tended by a beggarly thief in expectation of an inheritance.

The setting is a Europe of old with a flair for the Thirties of Vidor and Capra and Borzage (Man’s Castle), which is the source of Brooks’ Life Stinks.

The Rainbow Girls get the money to care for the dogs, the prince is flooded out to sea, a blessing yet appears unto the lowly thief.

A film reportedly without distribution, like John Frankenheimer’s Impossible Object.