Tuesday, June 19, 2007


A few posts ago, I mentioned picking up the Alejandro Jodorowsky DVD boxset...

Despite my claims of being a film buff, Jodorowsky was someone I'd mainly read about for years and never saw any of his films.... SANTA SANGRE I'd missed when it came out, and never did pick it up for a rental - his other films were hard to find and I'd never encountered anyone who had copies. Besides, Jodorowsky always seemed to fall under the category of someone who did "wierd hippie shit" films, and a little of those films goes a LONG way with me.

At least it was that way until mid-April, when I got a chance to see EL TOPO on the big screen, and was surprised that I liked it... instead of the wigged-out hippie western I was expecting, I got a very idiosyncratic, but intelligent and satisfying experience. I missed THE HOLY MOUNTAIN the following week, but having heard about the boxset, figured I'd catch up with it later.

THE FILMS OF ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY (the official title) is a tight collection of prime-Jodorowsky -- there's his first feature, FANDO Y LIS (previously released), his first film short LA CRAVATE (shot in the late 50's and thought lost until rediscovered last year), and EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN in excellent transfers, and with commentaries.
Most people may just want the latter films alone - they're a pretty powerful combination as a double feature - but there's great stuff to be found in the other films, as well.
Putting it in food terms: LA CRAVATE, FANDO Y LIS are the appetizers, EL TOPO is dinner and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN is the big-ass holiday meal, where you feel stuffed for a day or two after. In addition, there are extras such as photo galleries, a documentary shot in '94 (LA CONSTELLATION JODOROWSKY featuring interviews with Marcel Marceau, Peter Gabriel and comic artist Mobius), commentaries on all the features (EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN are new and all are extremely informative and entertaining), and CD sountracks for EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN.

I haven't said much about the films themselves; plots, etc. I'm assuming that whoever's into film may have heard of Jodrowsky and his work... there will be as many or more who'll go "Huh?" Look him up - it's easy! The fact is, Jorodorsky falls into that shrinking category of directors with a VISION... which means that like it or hate it, he doesn't apologize for it. Far from the "wierd hippie shit" label that I earlier applied, Jodorowsky definitely had things to say... as much as I was surprised by EL TOPO, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN was, literally, a mind-fuck - and I mean that in the best possible way!

If you're not that cinematically adventurous, you're not going to rush out to get this -- but the discs are available on Netflix and other rental places. If you're curious, check it out first, then grab the set for your home, if you dig it.... "Can you dig it?"

Now I need to see if I can scare up SANTA SANGRE....

While looking up material for a friend on You Tube... he was interested in finding examples of 'Mod' science-fiction (think BARBARELLA), I stumbled upon this.

Which led to this... and this... then this...

then, finally, this definition/explanation of "RAUMPATROUILLE"

SPACE PATROL, as the term translates to English, was Germany's first science-fiction series, broadcast in 1966 (days before STAR TREK's debut on NBC) - in fact, the STAR TREK comparison is pretty apt, as both shows feature multinational crews zooming around the universe in spaceships... although STAR TREK didn't have an underwater bar/club where the crew could relax, as far as I can remember.

SPACE PATROL lasted 7 episodes, then became a cult show in Germany when it was rebroadcast in the 80's. It never cracked the English market, though there was an attempt a few years ago, when the episodes were edited into a 90 minute theatrical film. Probably more of the English speaking crowd may discover it via You Tube clips.

Being a cult hit in Germany, there are DVD sets out there, but they're not Region 1, and apparently hard to import (I couldn't find anyone who carried them - even the dealers on eBay wouldn't ship to the US) - well, there's not much demand for them over here.... duh! Intrigued by the crumbs on You Tube, some well focused sniffing around on the Net produced results - and I was able to view the show's run, albeit with no English subtitles and no extensive knowledge of German.

That said, it was still interesting viewing - I do know some vocabulary, and the plotlines are easy to follow, in a general sense. I've read that there's a high level of irony, most of will go over my head until my comprehension of German improves. Still, it's a pretty good show - low budget, but they made good use of the money, and some of the fx work is pretty clever, if not spectacular. It's good example of 60's serious sci-fi for T.V. -- a good alternative to some of the American shows at the time.