Alejandro Jodorowsky's SANTA SANGRE 2 DVD Special Edition

Discussion in 'Euro Horror' started by KR~!, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    --Lon Chaney made essentially the same film in "The Unknown".--

    Note essentially. Lon Chaney was never in something that looked remotely like this. Not even close.
     
  2. mcchrist

    mcchrist A new breed of pervert!

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    Keepin' the dogs away...
    Indeed. It's essentially a remake of a certain Hitchcock film as well (the title would give away too much plot).

    Santa Sangre is a truly sublime experience.
     
  3. Hellbilly

    Hellbilly Active Member

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    Finally got my copy yesterday - giving this a spin tomorrow!
    I haven't watched Santa Sangre since first released on video.
     
  4. Jororowsky's films are certainly all worth screening. He's visually interesting and has a creative use of color, unlike most
    contemporary US directors who use if functionaly.

    The problem with all of his pictures is that they are self-consciously
    'arty'. For example, while it's fun to watch "El Topo" in a midnight
    screening (as I did at The Elgin back in the seventies), there's no
    way you'll know what was going on unless you buy the director's
    book explaining the imagery and what his intentions and messages were. It seems like a movie should be self contained and comprehensable without a book required to explain it.

    Having said that, I do recommend screening his movies for their
    use of color and Fellini style freaks, geeks and bizarre imagery.
    I would classify Jordorowsky as a second rate Bunuel but worth
    a look.

    This picture has a more conventional narrative that early ones
    like "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain".
     
  5. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    --there's no way you'll know what was going on unless you buy the director's book explaining the imagery and what his intentions and messages were. It seems like a movie should be self contained and comprehensable without a book required to explain it.---

    Maybe, maybe you're right. But maybe not. Western narrative structure certainly dominates movies today - but does it have to be that way? Must all movies be "unerstandable"? LIke Italian gore films, they're more about the spectacle than the narrative (which is why the narratives are usually so damn poor). I don't think less of them for that.

    Indian cinema (at least what I've seen), is very much the same. Normal narrative structure doesn't apply - which western audiences (me included) can struggle with. It's not really a fault of the film, of course, but simply the narrow confines we allow ourselves to get into.

    Jororowsky's, to me, isn't second rate anything. He's first rate. If you follow his career in and out of film, he's been pretty consistent (this is covered on the DVD by the way). That his films should echo his other work is entirely appropriate - but yeah - the narrative flow and story telling is going to slightly off - and sometimes, the story IS the symbol. I can't blame the artist for my ignorance in not being able to put two and two together.

    For that matter, I don't see why a film can't simply be a long list of symbolism. Why not? If that is what he wanted, and that was his intended audience, then it's perfectly valid.

    I will note, many films are enhanced by reading. My enjoyment of Last House on the Left was greatly improved by reading a book on it. Yeah got the story, but actually digging into the detail (via the book) allowed me to enjoy it a lot more. So, I really don't see this as a negative.

    Personally, I wish Jororowsky had made more movies, a lot more.
     
  6. Crystal Plumage

    Crystal Plumage Dig me..but don't bury me

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    I read the review at DVDManiacs and it seems a pretty interesting movie.
    Pretty weird in places no?
     
  7. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Well, by conventional standards, sure. But it's the beauty of it all that wins out. This guy would have been blinding on a top budget. They should have let him do Dune.
     
  8. John Gargo

    John Gargo Guest

    I've seen three Jodorowsky films...

    FANDO AND LIS, his early black and white experimental film, which meanders a bit without much of a narrative pull, but features some startling and surrealistic images. I find this one drags unless I'm in the mood for it, but when I am, it's incredible.

    EL TOPO is one of the best "westerns" that I've ever seen, but really the film turns into something completely different halfway through... It's probably the easiest of the three films I've seen to "understand," although I'm still a bit unsure about some of the imagery...

    HOLY MOUNTAIN, which is my favorite of his three films. Utterly impossible to explain this one, it takes EL TOPO's bizarre imagery and themes and takes them to the Nth degree... Violently bizarre, compelling story, and often baffling, it's the ultimate Jodorowsky film.

    I saw bits and pieces of SANTA SANGRE a long time ago... I need to see the rest.
     
  9. mcchrist

    mcchrist A new breed of pervert!

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    Keepin' the dogs away...
    Or a lot of drugs.

    I have the book. I've listened to the commentary on Fando y Lis, etc.

    Let me state right now that Jodorowsky has an ability to juxtapose incredible imagery and weave a wonderfully absurdist vision stand alone.

    When the man speaks, however (let me not forget La Constellation Jodorowsky)...

    When he explains his work, he's a crap artist. A complete crap artist. And that's sad because Jodorowsky has had more of an influence on me than probably than any other director. I feel his works stand completely on their own merits. He shouldn't have to justify them, but he does gleefully, and when he does... Blah blah blah.

    Maybe all he should have said was "I did it because it is more entertaining to do it this way."

    Oh well.
     
  10. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    I dont understand, why do you think he's a crap artist?
     
  11. John Gargo

    John Gargo Guest

    Well I can't speak for him, but I think I can explain it by referencing a review I once read of EVIL DEAD TRAP. In it, the person said he admired the colors, and likened them to the way Argento used them, UNTIL he listened to the commentary track and heard the director say "Oh yes, this color looks nice right here so I put it in."

    I suppose when people see something that appears to be overtly symbolic and they discover that the explanations for the images are purely superficial and done "just for the sake of doing them," it sort of makes said images pointless. That's why I won't listen to the commentary on FANDO AND LIS... the less I understand Jodorowsky's films, the more I love them.
     
  12. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Hm, I see. I'm not sure how that would make him a "crap artist", but okay :confused:

    There is an hour or so piece on Jodorowsky on the Santa Sangre disc, and for sure, he's a little out there. I don't appreciate much of what he has to say (or think to be honest), but having said that, what he creates is just wonderful. So, I consider him a brilliant artist, even though his philosophies are not in line with my own.

    I guess I enjoy knowing what the artist was thinking, but at the end of the day, I consider art to be a personal thing - it's how the individual reacts to it. Just because I got something out of something that the artist didn't intend, wouldn't make him a "crap artist" to me. Jodorowshy's cinematic work is just brilliant, imo.

    Jodorowsky has done so much, in so many different arenas (clearly film is a minor part of what he's spent his life doing). So he's to be applauded in my book. Each to their own though.

    How much of that "Evil Dead Trap" stuff is due to poor english skills, you think?
     
  13. John Gargo

    John Gargo Guest

    Well, I haven't heard the commentary, so I wouldn't know... I've heard that it sounds like he's reading off his answers on index cards.

    Anyway, I have no problem with an artist explaining his/her work, but when you've got examples of film that are SOOOO out there, a lot of the appeal is trying to piece together just what is going on yourself and put your own interpretation to the images. David Lynch is never going to explain ERASERHEAD, nor should he I think... I've got my own interpretation of his film, and while it may not match his own, it works for me just fine. Most people need things explained for them, but I can just sit back and enjoy a film like HOLY MOUNTAIN (one that I will NEVER comprehend) on simply a visual level.

    Then again, if Lynch ever DID release an explanation for ERASERHEAD, perhaps curiosity would get the better of me... :)
     
  14. KR~!

    KR~! The Apocalyptic Kid

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    David Lynch will never explain any of his films. He doesn't even like giving hints. He belives that what you think and what you get out of it is more important than what he was thinking when he made them.
     
  15. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Which is basically where I come from. it's how you *experience* the art that matters, not necessarily what the artist wanted. A piece of art isn't a jigsaw puzzle, with a "correct" solution. It's an expression of something, and that expression might engender different responses from different people (and let's face it, that's most often the case).
     
  16. dwatts,

    The reason that the Western narrative structure dominates world
    cinema is because that's what works. Now to define 'what works'...

    Most movies are made with the assumption that you want an audience to view them. If no one comes, then you don't make another film. It is a business as well as an art form. The next consideration
    is what narrative conventions seem to work for an audience in the sense that they leave the theater feeling fulfilled rather than bewildered. The classic Hollywood narrative structure does the trick.
    Now within that context, the director can add subtext, messages,
    subthemes, surrealism and even just plain weirdness. It seems that
    Bunuel understood this as well as Fellini which is why they tended to
    retain a classic narrative structure. For example, early Bunuel surrealist films like "Un Chien Adaleu" are uncomprehensible. Just a lot of grotestque images strung together. Other than the shocking eye slice, there's not much to recommend it. Bunuel later utilized a more conventional narrative structure and put in surrealist touches which is what made him fascinating to screen. If he kept on making surrealist shorts like his first attempt, no one would've gone to watch them and he wouldn't have continued to make movies.
    Early Jordorowsky is simular to early Bunuel. "El Topo" makes little, if any, sense. However he seems to have gone more in the direction
    of Bunuel with "Santa Sangre" which does have more of a narrative structure than his earlier films.
    The other problem I have with Jordorowsky is that he's so full of himself. I've never liked 'self declared' artists like Chaplin, Jerry Lewis and others. I still remember reading Chaplin going on and on about his intents whereas Buster Keaton used to say 'I was just trying to get laughs'. The paradox is that Keaton is far more creative in his use of the medium than Chaplin and Keaton didn't take himself too seriously.
    Perhaps the greatest motive in making a motion picture is to entertain. Within that framework, everything else is obtainable including surrealism and symbolism. When a director decides to make an 'art' film, the chances of it working are pretty slim. It's best for the art to be derived from the narrative rather than endure as a separate entity without any context. Weird imagery alone does not make a good
    motion picture.
     
  17. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    --The reason that the Western narrative structure dominates world cinema is because that's what works. Now to define 'what works'--

    Wow, that is so wrong as to sound a bit arrogant. No sir, YOU are wrong. it works well for WESTERN AUDIENCES - but other cultures have no trouble with other structures. Music is exactly the same - listen to music from other cultures and it's chords and structures are different. If you work hard at it, you can absorb these differences, and enjoy the films on the same level as local people do. The thing is, we're wired to believe that what we know is the "right" way.

    Now, you then go to mention western artists. The fact is, Indian cinema does not follow our conventions, and it's a hugely successful cinematic world, raking in plenty of cash. Not in the western world, for sure, we have issues with the structure.

    --Perhaps the greatest motive in making a motion picture is to entertain.--

    I cannot fathom how you could even attenpt to make a blanket statement like this. I might agree that the vast majority are, but all? No. So if someone falls into a different catagory, hell, I find it refreshing.

    Sorry, I disagree with 100%.

    As for Jodorowsky. He's an artist and says so. So what? Should he pretend to work in a supermarket? I've never heard him say he's a "Good" artist, or the "best" artist. I've only ever heard him explain what he's done, and why. As I said before, I happen not to believe in most of his system - but he does, so good for him. Isn't it easy to just turn him off?
     
  18. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    Well said Dwatts. I was thinking the same things while reading RichardHaines comments.
     
  19. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    I once took a flight on Air India. They showed a thre hour film, with lots of strange singing and dancing. The guy next to me, an Indian, seemed to be enjoying it. I asked him about it, and apparently it was a big hit in India.

    I confess, I didn't get it. The story (apparently there was one) was told in dances, songs etc. But not like a musical from Hollywood - it was more like a Grateful Dead concert - where the music seemed constant..... I don't know. I never thought of it as a bad film - but I was disapointed in my own ignorance at not being able to take it in.
     
  20. KR~!

    KR~! The Apocalyptic Kid

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    I was going to rip him a new one but good old Dwatts beat me to it. :p

    BTW, "Un Chien Adaleu" is very easy to understand if you ever studied surrealism.
     

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