Combustible Celluloid
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With: Axel Jodorowsky, Adán Jodorowsky, Blanca Guerra, Guy Stockwell, Thelma Tixou, Sabrina Dennison, Faviola Elenka Tapia, Teo Jodorowsky, Ma. De Jesus Aranzabal, Jesús Juárez, Sergio Bustamante, Gloria Contreras, S. Rodriguez, Zonia Rangel Mora, Borolas
Written by: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Roberto Leoni, Claudio Argento
Directed by: Alejandro Jodorowsky
MPAA Rating: NC-17 for several scenes of extremely explicit violence
Running Time: 123
Date: 06/27/1990

Santa Sangre (1989)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Inner Circus

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This bizarre, incredible movie has director Alejandro Jodorowsky's handprints all over it, even though one of its central images involves characters without arms. Partly based on Jodorowsky's own childhood, and featuring many of his children as actors, it's set in a circus and centered around Fenix (played as a child by Adán Jodorowsky and as a young adult by Axel Jodorowsky). He performs in the ring as a child magician, while his father is a knife thrower and his mother is a trapeze artist. He falls in love with a deaf-mute girl, while his father is having an affair with the tattooed woman, and his mother is the head of a strange religious cult that considers a young raped girl with severed arms its patron saint. Everything falls apart, when, eventually, the mother discovers the father's affair; she burns his genitals with acid, but he cuts off her arms. As an adult, Fenix escapes from an asylum and his mother forces him to be her "arms," going on a murder spree. There's also an elephant funeral, painful tattooing, little people, cocaine, prostitutes, dreams, raw fish-eating, and other odd, unsettling, graphic, and gory stuff. It's a bit slow, definitely a bit surreal, and certainly provocative. Fans of Jodorowsky need to see it, but others will wonder what the hell is going on. (Roger Ebert selected it as one of the ten best films of 1990.)

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