All those years later, after it was made, this strikes more than a chord, it is a deep resonating bell. This was picked up by Lennon and Ono and given a seal of approval playing for a year in the art world of New York. It is an indictment of the world flying around in the 60's when perception became apparent after being clouded by the blinkers of Empire. Then no bad news was ever reported except as natives needing to be provided order.
The flim begins as the 7 year old buries his mother's photo and teddy bear and then enters a world bereft of love and hope, where men are suspended from beams and their blood flows into muddy puddles. This is the world of My Lai, Soviet Russia, the Civil War villages in Spain and the countless blood baths hiding shallow graves as the cold war blew.
Linked to the mysticism of the Bible the main character enacts venegance across the wastelands, killing wisemen superior, only armed with his guile and his gun. He is the man in black. Meanwhile he finds himself two women who vye for his lust whilst only finding themselves.
The acting is halting, the film shots used by Nic Roeg, the scenic shifts and displays utilised by Lynch, the landscape by Sergio Leone and the bloodbath by Tarantino. Jodorowsky has that effect in being the spring source for a whole new genre based upon entering a portal as he creates a new paradigm. The other director who jumps to the same beat is Passolini with his Salo depiction.
Those who need narrative and structure, happy endings, musicals, abhor violence, like animals will be appaulled at the inherent lack of formative narrative, the sexual violence, the killing of animals,the lack of the backslapping bonhomie of "action," "kung fu," and "romantic comedy." This is a far bleaker whirl than modern romanticism, built in an age where nuclear weapons were aimed to kill, the land reflects that Mad Max sandscape.
This deals with genocide, incest, rape, sodomy, animal killing, lesbianism, crucifiction, child nudity, sex with people who are deformed, lynching blacks, sexual exploitation of men by women and vice versa and a host of other outre themes. This includes the mass killing of th deformed.
The man of violence seeks peace through firepower. The film follows his exploits and journey as the death rates rise. The use of animals as metaphors for suffering abound with the death of the rabbits, donkeys, horses and goats. In one scene a goat is left crucified on a building. As he gains ascendancy he gains empathy for the oppressed and through this sees the horror of the violence by being able to inflict further violence. The film builds in waves of horror.
If this is something you wish to steer away because it only happens in movies then do not buy or try to watch this film. It will not be comfortable viewing and you will walk away queasy feeling upset, disturbed or in severe emotionally frozen cases...bored.
However for those who stomached and were nourished on Santa Sangre, Salo, Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingo and the other outre genres, this is a filmic goldmine, a rich seam of everything unwholesome turned into nutrition, ensconsed within a political stilleto aimed at the gullet of the flatulent overblown goo that makes up mainstream culture. You only have to push it in to the hilt to hear it gurgle and rattle.