Tuesday, May 01, 2007

El Topo at the Cinematheque May 8th - Jodorowsky fans take note!

Okay, it's somewhat lazy of me, but here's a first: I'm copyin' out verbatim a press release for the upcoming Jod screening at the Cinematheque. (It's late and I want to get to bed). All errors I didn't catch should be attributed to the authors o' the release!

A Friends of Jodorowsky presentation

The cult film that was the first “Midnight Movie” returns to the screen at last

A restored “El Topo” ready to blow minds again

Vancouver audiences will have their first chance in over 35 years to see the film that launched the midnight movie phenomenon and became a cultural icon to a generation. El Topo (The Mole) is an explosive tale of blood, sand and surrealism. Locked away for decades in the vaults of Allen Klein, the Beatles' former business manager, El Topo has not been distributed in years, nor issued on video (Al note: in North America. It's been available in Japan all along, with optical fogging on the genitals). When Klein’s son took over his father’s interests, it was decided to restore the film and let the world have another look. Now the film has been HD digitally restored and is being released to art houses and in a DVD set of the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky.

In the fall of 1970, filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky arrived in New York with a print of El Topo under his arm. There was no attempt to open the film in Mexico, where it was made, because Jodorowsky had had problems there with the censorship of his first feature Fando Y Lis. El Topo premiered at the Elgin theatre in New York City on the night of December 18, 1970, where it ran continuously every weekday at midnight, and at 1:00am on Fridays and Saturdays, until the end of June, 1971. Within two weeks of the first screening, El Topo was doing turn-away business. Ben Barenholtz, owner of the Elgin recalls that “within two months, the limos lined up every night.” El Topo became a must-see item.”

Among the regulars at the midnight screenings of El Topo at the Elgin in the spring of 1971 were John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Ex-Beatle Lennon, was blown away by El Topo. He wanted his manager, Allen Klein to purchase the rights to the film. So in June, Klein’s Abkco Films acquired El Topo and re-opened it at the up-scale Broadway Cinemas in the winter of 1971 to mixed notices from mainstream New York reviewers. Regardless, the film became an art house cornerstone all over North America.

The power of El Topo lay in its ability to address the counterculture directly. It’s style is a synthesis of Luis Buñuel, Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah, and Jean-Luc Godard. El Topo’s relevance ranks highly amongst other important texts of the counterculture generation, including J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf, Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, R. Crumb’s “Mr. Natural,” and Carlos Casteneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan. No one who sees this film ever forgets it.

El Topo is playing at the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver on May 8 for one night only. Not since 1971 has El Topo been shown in its full glory.

Tuesday May 8, 7:30 pm at Pacific Cinematheque, 1131 Howe St. Vancouver.
More info: http://www.abkcofilms.com/


Anonymous said...


This sounds great!
Please note, however, that PC is located at 1131 Howe street.


ammacinn said...

Yep - I was just logging in to correct that, and have notified the guy who sent me the press release!

Cheers for keepin' people correctly informed, but I'm going to correct the original in case people don't look at the comments section...