EL TOPO

FILM IN PHASE SPACE EPISODE 4

When a man buries a pole in the sand, he automatically creates a sundial and begins to mark time. To begin marking time is to begin creating a culture.

“The mole is an animal that digs tunnels underground searching for the sun. Sometimes his journey leads him to the surface. When he looks at the sun, he is blinded.”

Aesthetics

The real drama was not whether the “Injuns,” or mobsters, or delinquents, or Reds would destroy the American way of life — because they couldn’t — but rather, who was going stop them, the cops or the docs, the soldiers or the scientists? And by what means, force or persuasion?

Surrealism

“The Surrealists went prospecting for the latent meaning of movies, “the sexual spot” that heralded the return of the repressed. Epicureans of detritus, they uncovered treasurers of poetry and subversion in the bargain basement of cinema.”

VIOLENCE

“Without an element of cruelty at the foundation of every spectacle, the theater is not possible”

PART I

EL TOPO AS MULTI-RELIGIOUS FIGURE

SUFISM

THE FOUR MASTERS

“The stone is an exact replica of my own penis. That’s El Topo’s sex!”

THE FIRST MASTER: HINDU

THE SECOND MASTER

THE THIRD MASTER: PRE-COLUMBIAN

“The Third Master is a Mexican Master. In every Western ever made, the Mexican is always the outlaw, the bad guy. In my picture, the Mexican is a very wonderful man, because Mexico has a very wonderful culture.”

THE FOURTH MASTER: ZEN

PART 2

“I’ll tell you a little secret, but don’t tell anybody. It’s on the dollar bill. I think it’s a perversion of knowledge. Because if you take a sacred symbol of Atlantis, or whatever, and put it on the dollar, this symbol becomes a very terrible symbol: an economic symbol. But I used it in the film as a symbol of guilt: the eye says: ‘You are guilty, you are guilty’. Yes. A guilty society.”

GUILT

MYSTICISM

You can ask me about any symbol you like. I know the meaning of every symbol there is. So do you, because the meaning of every symbol is recorded in your brain cells.

PSYCHEDELIC DRUGS

I ask of film what most North Americans ask from psychedelic drugs. The difference being that when one creates a psychedelic film, he need not create a film that shows the visions of a person who has taken a pill; rather, he needs to manufacture the pill.

INPRINTS

“I believe that each image of the film is an imprint. I can’t give the entire body. You have to form it. Each film must be a sample of the entire universe, as each grain of sand is a sample of the entire beach.”

THE MOTHER

A) THE SECOND MASTER

ETERNAL RETURN

When you struggle internally in life, and you triumph and are freed from your problems, you become faced with a greater problem: the problem of the entire universe. Right? In other words, you are never liberated from the weight. You increase it. When a mystic reaches a god, he realizes that there is a greater god. And he has to work and work. It’s endless. El Topo is endless.”

ARTAUD

“A mass audience that trembles at train wrecks, that is familiar with earthquakes, plague, revolution, war, that is sensitive to the disorderly throes of love, provided these ideas do not come to them by way of costumes and an overreified language which belong to dead ages, ages that will never be brought to life again.”

The explosion of galaxies is violent. A comet falling on Jupiter making seven big holes is violent. The birth of a child is very violent. Someone passing away… it’s immense violence… Life is violent; the circulation of blood, the heart beating, all this is violent. But there are two types of violence: creative and destructive. I am creating art.”

ALCHEMIST

IF YOU ARE GREAT EL TOPO IS GREAT

If you are great, El Topo is great. If you are limited, El Topo is limited.”

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