Sadistic and painful, seductive and playful: an eye-popping visual adventure that proves how imaginative cinema can be. There are certain films in cinema history you just have to experience on a big screen; SANTA SANGRE is one of them. If you believe in auteurs in filmmaking, Alejandro Jodorowsky is definitely one. Some of the most bizarre images will brutally invade your physical memory, and there is nothing you can do to remove them afterwards. That is the Jodorowsky signature: “I don’t like normality,” says the director.
Little boy Phoenix grows up from a circus family, where he makes friends with freaks, animals and clowns. During an argument, Phoenix’s father cuts his mother’s arms off, and then kills himself by cutting his own throat. Their blood splashes so dramatically, that it almost makes you feel like you could drown by watching the red liquid with your eyes. After witnessing the horrible tragedy, Phoenix ends up in a mental hospital. He later reunites with his armless mother, and performs again by pretending his arms are his mother’s. The intimate performance by the mother and son has become the most daring and stylish cinematic interpretation of the Oedipal complex.
… the tattooed woman being tied on a wheel, the dying elephant with a bleeding nose, the deaf girl with a painted face …
The bizarre circus childhood memories keep coming back to Phoenix as flashbacks: the tattooed woman being tied on a wheel, the dying elephant with a bleeding nose, the deaf girl with a painted face, and the holy blood temple; all these surreal images demonstrate the director’s vision of comic art. There is never a lack of colour in SANTA SANGRE. Red is the dominant theme colour, and there is how much blood you’d experience. There is never a lack of thrill in this film, not when the threat of castration is constantly present on screen, for both men and women. Finally, there is never a lack of a romance. Jodorwsky’s choice of music evilly hypnotises you with sentimentalism while extreme violence takes place, and seduces you with the unavoidable beauty of hell. The director invites you to experience his imagined collective unconsciousness, by treating cinema as the most conscious art form of all time.
The film is for those who dare to see or imagine the darkest side of their own. Once the Pandora’s box is opened, cinema experience shall reach another level of secret pleasure.