1989 Jodorowsky funk
Plot: A boy is traumatized by some horrible experiences that took place during his young life with the circus involving a tattooed woman, his knife-throwing daddy, and his mother who worships a no-armed woman with the religious cult across the street. Following his release from an asylum, he tries to put his life back together again. That's made difficult when he runs into his no-armed mother who controls him and demands the use of his arms. His childhood sweetheart and a little fellow try to help him out.
It's really the type of movie that makes a plot synopsis pointless which explains the half-hearted effort I gave it up there. This is a psychosexual Freudian (aka Freddian) horror-comedy that is probably unlike anything you've ever seen or in some cases unlike anything you'll ever want to see. My plans were to make Santa Sangre my Oprah Movie Club pick before I got depressed about that whole thing and passed. I'm sure it would have been dug by all. This is Jodorowsky's third best film after Holy Mountain and El Topo, and although it's not as bizarre as those two, it's pretty bizarre compared to everything else. I still chuckle a little when I see this labeled as one of his most accessible. Jodorowsky seems to have had more of a budget to work with in this one, and he uses it to compile some artful visuals and utilize his vivid imagination. Not that he needed much money to help him out anyway. Drenched in film-school symbolism and saturated in cartoon colors and Part-Fellini (probably just the circus thing), part-Psycho, part-Bunuel, and all Jodorowsky, there are scenes throughout this that will linger in the mind for a long time. There's an elephant funeral that has to be seen to be believed, and the choreography and timing required for the scenes where the mother "uses" her son's arms is impressive. There's also a great little person, Jesus Juarez as Aladin. And you get a scene where some actors with Down Syndrome visit a prostitute. Exploitative? Yeah, probably. Original? Definitely. Oh, and there's a scene where a guy peels off his own ear. I'm sorry. I should have warned you all about spoilers before typing some of that. It's a challenge, but it's a thoroughly entertaining one. Shame about the dubbing though. It's also a shame that this guy can't get financing so that the rest of us can see his dreams. I keep reading that he's making a movie, but then I'll see where the Russian producers "just disappeared mysteriously" and then there's no movie.
By the way, I follow Alejandro Jodorowsky on Twitter. Highly recommended despite 95% of his tweets being in a language I don't speak. I think probably Canadian. He's like an advice columnist. One follower asked him, "Any advice for mental clarity?" and he answered, "On Sundays, lock yourself in the house and repeat, incessantly, one word: ass." It's sound advice.