Santa Sangre


2h 3m 1989

Brief Synopsis

A deranged man acts as the arms for his mutilated mother, resulting in murder and mayhem.

Film Details

Also Known As
Holy Blood
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1989
Distribution Company
Mainline Pictures; Palace Video; StudioCanal; Studiocanal
Location
Mexico City, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 3m

Synopsis

A deranged man acts as the arms for his mutilated mother, resulting in murder and mayhem.

Crew

Nick Alexander

Adr Editor

Luciano Anzellotti

Additional Sound Effects

Massimo Anzellotti

Sound Effects

Sergio Arau

Other

Claudio Argento

Screenwriter

Claudio Argento

Producer

Anuar Badin

Line Producer

Jesus Marin Bello

1st Assistant Director

Lars Bloch

Production Consultant

Mauro Bonanni

Editor

Simon Boswell

Music

Pablo Buelna

Unit Manager

Roberto Camacho

Sound; Sound Recording

Lillo Capoano

Post-Production Supervisor

Rene Cardona

Executive Producer

Victor M Cano Castro

Special Effects

Romano Checcacci

Sound Rerecording

Genaro Codina

Song ("Marcha Zacatecas")

Ernesto Cortazar

Music Consultant

Greg Day

Publicist

Ronald Deneef

Production Consultant

Tolita Figueroa

Costume Designer

Alfonso Pacheco Garcia

Special Effects

Ruben Pacheco Garcia

Special Effects

Gabriela Gurrola

Script Coordinator

Marcelino Pacheco Guzman

Special Effects Supervisor

Alexandro Jadorowsky

From Story

Alexandro Jadorowsky

Screenwriter

Alonso Jimenez

Music Arranger ("De Este Lado De Aca")

Cesar Jimenez

Production Coordinator

Alexandro Jodorowsky

Screenplay

Alexandro Jodorowsky

From Story

Enrique Estevez Labarstida

Set Decorator

Angelo Lacono

Executive Producer

Pablo Leder

Casting

Roberto Leoni

Screenwriter

Roberto Leoni

From Adaptation

Alejandro Luna

Production Designer

Luis Magana

Music Arranger ("Las Bicicletas" "Marcha Funebre")

Lamberto Marini

Hairstyles

Lamberto Marini

Makeup

Horacio Martinez

Wardrobe Supervisor

Tlacateo Mata

Location Manager

Tlacateotl Mata

Location Manager

Abel Melo

Wardrobe

Tomás Mendez

Song ("Cucurrucucu")

Tomas Mendez Sosa

Song

Vincent Messina

Music Producer

Enrique Mora

Song ("Alejandra")

Daniele Nannuzzi

Camera Operator

Daniele Nannuzzi

Director Of Photography

Santiago Navarrete

Camera Operator

Alfonso Esparza Oteo

Song ("Dejame Llorar")

Damaso Perez Prado

Songs ("Caballo Negro" "Lupita" "Mambo Number 8")

Alberto Lopez Rodriguez

Makeup

Luz Maria Rojas

Production Manager

Enrique Rubalcava

Stills

Federico Savina

Dolby Consultant

Luis Martinez Serrano

Song ("Donde Estas Corazon")

Roberta Tinti

Production Executive

Consuelo Velazquez

Song ("Besame Mucho")

Rene Villarreal

2nd Assistant Director

Film Details

Also Known As
Holy Blood
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1989
Distribution Company
Mainline Pictures; Palace Video; StudioCanal; Studiocanal
Location
Mexico City, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 3m

Articles

Santa Sangre - SANTA SANGRE - Alexandro Jodorowsky's 1989 Cult Film on DVD


If Alejandro Jodorowsky didn't exist, we would've had to invent him, out of the cultural tumult of the 20th century, the eruption of avant-garde cinema and New Wave craziness in the postwar era, and the yen for do-your-own-thing mind-bending that came with the '60s. Born in Chile just months before the stock market crash of '29, and an art student and circus clown by the '40s, Jodorowsky needed to wait for modern sensibilities to loosen up, eventually founding the neo-Surrealist "Panic Movement" in 1960s Paris with Roland Topor and Fernando Arrabal, deliberately "subversive" art project that manifested, as these kinds of things used to do, in theater performances, movies, books, and heaps of public outrage.

From there, it was notoriety and scandal to break the bank: Jodorowsky's lovably Bunuelian debut film Fando & Lis (1968) supposedly caused a riot at the Acapulco Film Festival and got the director run out of town as a heretic just one month after the Tlatelolco Massacre of protesting students. His second, El Topo (1970), was an international "cult" hit (or whatever categorization might best suit tantalizing films that spawn, seemingly, outside the ordinary ideas of genre or industry), and at the tail end of the hippie epoch was heartily consumed as a midnight movie along with recreational substances of all kinds. If his next film, The Holy Mountain (1973), was less so, all it proved was that the world could only handle a single uncut dose of Jodorowsky before it had decided it had had enough. Jodorowsky was undeterred, though his cataracts of absurdity came slowly: the relatively gentle Tusk in 1980, and then, in 1989, Santa Sangre, an almost autobiographical myth-movie that could be called a return to form.

Jodorowsky's "form" is, of course, what's at issue - he's a blustery, crude, fabulously pretentious three-ring provocateur, and in his heyday decorating a chunk of desert with crucified cow carcasses, or filling a Western-movie town with dwarfs and nude amputees and Christ references, seemed to be the height of mythic, pseudo-profound "transgression." His sensibility is equal parts Theater of Cruelty nuttiness, ersatz Christian imagery, south-of-the-border nihilism (life seems cheap in Jodorowsky's world, and for farm animals it often is) and grand circus orchestration. The filmmaker's years working as a traveling circus performer - think about that: in the '40s, in South America - left him with a knowledge and ardor for the milieu that no filmmaker can rival (not even Fellini), and in Santa Sangre, made when he was 60, he returns to it in earnest. (It's also his first film in English.) The story is, as always, dopey with self-importance, salacious as a freak show, and storybook innocent about the real world, tracing the pulpy tragedy of a circus family destroyed by the lust of the knife-throwing father (a grotesquely corpulent Guy Stockwell) for a tattooed contortionist (cabaret diva Thelma Tixou), resulting in the evangelical mother (Blanca Guerra) getting her arms cut off, and, years later, embarking on a performing career and a revenge rampage with her grown, traumatized son (Axel Jodorowsky) literally acting as her hands.

Take that synopsis on face value, and you can see where Jodorowsky's imagery becomes interesting - the armless woman and her son locked together pretending to be one body, the sexual thrill of knife-throwing (exploited only half as fulsomely in Patrice Leconte's The Girl on the Bridge), the circus life elevated to the stuff of legends and Greek tragedy. (Indeed, the scene everyone remembers best from the film is a solemn street funeral for a dead elephant, complete with a black coffin the size of a truck.)

Jodorowsky may be a unique and extravagant figure, but the fact remains that his films can be tedious and childish, and the impulses that guide many of their visual ideas, and most of their narratives, are often simplistic and sophomoric. He is one of those distinctive, self-marginalizing voices you desperately want to be far more accomplished and profound than they actually are. Santa Sangre ("Holy Blood") is his most grounded film, and the one that feels closer to the concerns of actual human beings - that is, the characters aren't merely symbols. They are, though, scenery-chewing iconic stereotypes, put to work by a yarn-spinning sensibility closer to the Arabian Nights and underground comic books than any normative notion of "art." Jodorowsky has not and will not ever win points for dramatic realism or insight, and certainly the Jodorowskians out there don't expect him to. Rather, they expect, and get in spades, a banquet of irrational juxtapositions and ghoulish tableaux and symbologies so overt and self-contradictory they must, for the initiated, signify something new. (The closest contemporary Jodorowsky has had is photographer Joel-Pieter Witkin, whose feverishly Surrealist work postdates El Topo.) Jodorowsky acolytes seem to love his films for how they exist as raging counterpoint to what a "normal" movie is, and it's easy to sympathize with this free-ranging cultural hunger for radical visions, with or without pharmacological assistance. But it is still difficult to love the films. If only Jodorowsky could have been a little less of a counter-culture showman, and a little more of an artist.

A valentine to die-hard Jodorowskians, the new DVD edition of Santa Sangre comes packing over five hours of supplemental material, including several documentaries, a film about the real-life killing spree that ostensibly inspired the film, multiple interviews with Jodorowsky, short films, music videos, and even an audio commentary by the filmmaker himself.

For more information about Santa Sangre, visit Severin Films. To order Santa Sangre, go to TCM Shopping.

by Michael Atkinson
Santa Sangre - Santa Sangre - Alexandro Jodorowsky's 1989 Cult Film On Dvd

Santa Sangre - SANTA SANGRE - Alexandro Jodorowsky's 1989 Cult Film on DVD

If Alejandro Jodorowsky didn't exist, we would've had to invent him, out of the cultural tumult of the 20th century, the eruption of avant-garde cinema and New Wave craziness in the postwar era, and the yen for do-your-own-thing mind-bending that came with the '60s. Born in Chile just months before the stock market crash of '29, and an art student and circus clown by the '40s, Jodorowsky needed to wait for modern sensibilities to loosen up, eventually founding the neo-Surrealist "Panic Movement" in 1960s Paris with Roland Topor and Fernando Arrabal, deliberately "subversive" art project that manifested, as these kinds of things used to do, in theater performances, movies, books, and heaps of public outrage. From there, it was notoriety and scandal to break the bank: Jodorowsky's lovably Bunuelian debut film Fando & Lis (1968) supposedly caused a riot at the Acapulco Film Festival and got the director run out of town as a heretic just one month after the Tlatelolco Massacre of protesting students. His second, El Topo (1970), was an international "cult" hit (or whatever categorization might best suit tantalizing films that spawn, seemingly, outside the ordinary ideas of genre or industry), and at the tail end of the hippie epoch was heartily consumed as a midnight movie along with recreational substances of all kinds. If his next film, The Holy Mountain (1973), was less so, all it proved was that the world could only handle a single uncut dose of Jodorowsky before it had decided it had had enough. Jodorowsky was undeterred, though his cataracts of absurdity came slowly: the relatively gentle Tusk in 1980, and then, in 1989, Santa Sangre, an almost autobiographical myth-movie that could be called a return to form. Jodorowsky's "form" is, of course, what's at issue - he's a blustery, crude, fabulously pretentious three-ring provocateur, and in his heyday decorating a chunk of desert with crucified cow carcasses, or filling a Western-movie town with dwarfs and nude amputees and Christ references, seemed to be the height of mythic, pseudo-profound "transgression." His sensibility is equal parts Theater of Cruelty nuttiness, ersatz Christian imagery, south-of-the-border nihilism (life seems cheap in Jodorowsky's world, and for farm animals it often is) and grand circus orchestration. The filmmaker's years working as a traveling circus performer - think about that: in the '40s, in South America - left him with a knowledge and ardor for the milieu that no filmmaker can rival (not even Fellini), and in Santa Sangre, made when he was 60, he returns to it in earnest. (It's also his first film in English.) The story is, as always, dopey with self-importance, salacious as a freak show, and storybook innocent about the real world, tracing the pulpy tragedy of a circus family destroyed by the lust of the knife-throwing father (a grotesquely corpulent Guy Stockwell) for a tattooed contortionist (cabaret diva Thelma Tixou), resulting in the evangelical mother (Blanca Guerra) getting her arms cut off, and, years later, embarking on a performing career and a revenge rampage with her grown, traumatized son (Axel Jodorowsky) literally acting as her hands. Take that synopsis on face value, and you can see where Jodorowsky's imagery becomes interesting - the armless woman and her son locked together pretending to be one body, the sexual thrill of knife-throwing (exploited only half as fulsomely in Patrice Leconte's The Girl on the Bridge), the circus life elevated to the stuff of legends and Greek tragedy. (Indeed, the scene everyone remembers best from the film is a solemn street funeral for a dead elephant, complete with a black coffin the size of a truck.) Jodorowsky may be a unique and extravagant figure, but the fact remains that his films can be tedious and childish, and the impulses that guide many of their visual ideas, and most of their narratives, are often simplistic and sophomoric. He is one of those distinctive, self-marginalizing voices you desperately want to be far more accomplished and profound than they actually are. Santa Sangre ("Holy Blood") is his most grounded film, and the one that feels closer to the concerns of actual human beings - that is, the characters aren't merely symbols. They are, though, scenery-chewing iconic stereotypes, put to work by a yarn-spinning sensibility closer to the Arabian Nights and underground comic books than any normative notion of "art." Jodorowsky has not and will not ever win points for dramatic realism or insight, and certainly the Jodorowskians out there don't expect him to. Rather, they expect, and get in spades, a banquet of irrational juxtapositions and ghoulish tableaux and symbologies so overt and self-contradictory they must, for the initiated, signify something new. (The closest contemporary Jodorowsky has had is photographer Joel-Pieter Witkin, whose feverishly Surrealist work postdates El Topo.) Jodorowsky acolytes seem to love his films for how they exist as raging counterpoint to what a "normal" movie is, and it's easy to sympathize with this free-ranging cultural hunger for radical visions, with or without pharmacological assistance. But it is still difficult to love the films. If only Jodorowsky could have been a little less of a counter-culture showman, and a little more of an artist. A valentine to die-hard Jodorowskians, the new DVD edition of Santa Sangre comes packing over five hours of supplemental material, including several documentaries, a film about the real-life killing spree that ostensibly inspired the film, multiple interviews with Jodorowsky, short films, music videos, and even an audio commentary by the filmmaker himself. For more information about Santa Sangre, visit Severin Films. To order Santa Sangre, go to TCM Shopping. by Michael Atkinson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter February 23, 1990

Released in United States March 30, 1990

Released in United States April 20, 1990

Released in United States May 11, 1990

Released in United States June 15, 1990

Released in United States June 27, 1990

Released in United States on Video March 28, 1991

Released in United States 1989

Released in United States November 1989

Released in United States February 1991

Shown at Montreal World Film Festival (out of competition) August 24-September 4, 1989.

Shown at London Film Festival November 10-26, 1989.

Shown at Belgrade International Film Festival February 1-10, 1991.

Began shooting September 3, 1988.

Released in United States Winter February 23, 1990

Released in United States March 30, 1990 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States April 20, 1990 (New York City and San Francisco)

Released in United States May 11, 1990 (Washington DC)

Released in United States June 15, 1990 (Sacramento)

Released in United States on Video March 28, 1991

Released in United States 1989 (Shown at Montreal World Film Festival (out of competition) August 24-September 4, 1989.)

Released in United States November 1989 (Shown at London Film Festival November 10-26, 1989.)

Released in United States February 1991 (Shown at Belgrade International Film Festival February 1-10, 1991.)

Released in United States June 27, 1990 (Chicago)