Jodorowsky coming to DVD

Three of Jodorowsky’s movies — El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Fando y Lis — are being prepared for home-video release. Presumably they’ll be offered individually as well as in a box set, but details are a little hard to come by right now.

Apparently the guy who holds the distribution rights, with whom Jodorowsky has been at odds for decades, has softened up in his advancing age.

Seems that new prints were struck of the first two and are being exhibited at this year’s Cannes festival.

Whether that’s being done to promote the eventual video release, or the prints were struck for theatrical exhibition and the idea of a video release materialized afterward, is unclear. There’s also been no official date announced yet, so keep your fingers crossed that plans don’t fall through again.

Still, film geeks must be absolutely thrilled. These are some major milestones long overdue for a high-quality DVD edition.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a short reel is available at the distributor’s website:

This is mildly NSFW, so I’ve unchecked the link parser. Copy and paste.

For anyone who hasn’t seen El Topo (the best-known of the three movies being released), it’s a masterpiece of surrealism, which inevitably means that certain aspects have dated somewhat. The film’s technical qualities are somewhat crude, which is not surprising. More than that, though, as is usual with these enormously influential milestones, hordes of imitators have followed in its wake, so viewers coming to it cold may wonder what the fuss was (and is) about; like Citizen Kane and other groundbreaking movies, one must keep in mind that this was basically first. And as a groundbreaker, there are few films that broke so much ground.

Can I get a Huzzah?

I’ve been eyeing the bootlegs for a while now–specially* El Topo*–so this is good news. I still have never seen that movie in its entirety, though I’ve seen bits of it and read about it enough that I feel like I can spot its influence sometimes nonetheless. It will be good to see the real thing. Though I have a feeling “good” will be a relative term; I expect to be mighty befuddled and bewildered by it.

A friend gave me a VHS bootleg of El Topo a few months ago, and it’s phenomenal. I already have Santa Sangre, and El Topo is just miles above and beyond it. It’s a weird movie, but it’s very, very good, and I don’t think that comes across as being particularly dated other than certain hairstyles or whatever.

Yay! I can finally replace my copy of Holy Mountain. (I’m assuming these transfers won’t have ugly blue blobs censoring all the naughty bits. Stupid Japanese laserdisc.)

“When your enlightenment is complete, you will love his smell.”

Can’t get enough hermetic cinema.

Fando y Lis was one of my earliest Netflix rentals (back when they were a la carte rather than monthly-service-fee based). I thought that it was one of the craziest, strangest, most bizarre movies I had ever seen. But I ended up watching it three times, in fascination.

So, yeah, good news.

Bump: In case you haven’t been watching the new-release announcements, the Jodorowsky boxed set came out a few days ago.

It kicks ass.

Having seen only a bootleg of El Topo, watching a pristine, remastered version is like seeing the movie for the first time. Wow.

This is a must-buy for everyone who is even halfway serious about cinema.

They showed El Topo & The Holy Mountain here theatrically recently, and though I missed the former (a film I’d seen years ago), I caught the latter, and it truly has to be seen to be believed–truly bizarre, confrontational, disturbing, gorgeous, and unforgettable. Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea (and I’m still not sure how “good” it is), but the DVDs will help expose a lot more people to these rather remarkable films (though Jodorowsky’s compositions still cry out for as large a canvas as they can get).