sontaran’s review published on Letterboxd:
Leans more heavily into a looser storyline and more of a focus on themes than El Topo, partially I believe because El Topo was still trying to be a twist on the western genre.
At the same time, I think this movie was more direct with relating its spiritual message to social commentary.
There were so many powerful images of violence, sex and and excess which I think highlighted beautifully the emotions and passions behind the most base of human acts like consuming and destroying.
I like the overall message. I think it lines up with some Alan Watts that I was reading so the focus on eastern philosophy is evident.
Through the journeys of the characters we see how man is stripped of his vices, flaws and desires and has to let go of apprehensions and ego so that he can enter “reality” as Jodorowsky puts it.
His ultimate message was to escape the illusion, become more than illusion and even though maybe utopia is fake news, through this type of self discovery you can get the true breakthrough.
Basically it’s the same thing that happened to Aang with the guru in The Last Airbender.
I love the music as well. It is very hypnotic and I love rock part with the distorted guitar as well it was a pleasant surprise.
The images are extremely visceral. The camera movement and direction treads the line between active participant and by standing observer.
The movements are never distracting but it feels like it naturally moves along with the environment and it feels like the camera movements were designed to flow along with the movement of the characters and objects on the screen.
This made me think about sex and sexual attraction real differently because it really strips down a lot of it to its core. Boobs are really just lumps of fat. Sexuality in this wasn’t something glamorized and made to look “sexy” but it felt real organic and honest and true. Sex is just another thing at the end of the day and our absurd obsession with how we handle it as a society is communicated through a lot of the scenes in this.
It does sometimes feel a little full of itself or at least that it could have used a little layer of self aware humour throughout. There was humour and I think it was hilarious. The way she said the delusions of grandeur was very funny.
Solid dialogue even though at the start it had this period without dialogue where body language, framing, blocking, and other expressions were used to convey some strong feelings and coherent ideas just from the combination of images and sounds without any words at all.
Of course, I can’t downplay how fucking weird some of the shit is. All different types of weird. Trippy weird, disturbing weird, thought provoking weird, nasty weird.