The second visual treat came last week with the BFI's eminently sensible decision to unearth the new print of Alejandro Jodorowky's psychedelic western, El Topo. A simple tale of man and naked son revenging a massacred town, abandoning offspring with Franciscan monks, fighting four mystical desert master gunslingers, being shot by lesbian lovers, meditating for 20 years under a mountain with a bunch of inbred dwarves and freaks and finally self-immolation; El Topo (The Mole) is the Chilean master's greatest triumph. After 35 years it's as bonkers as ever. Suffused with the tarot and biblical allegory, it was John Lennon's favourite film and is worth seeing just for the COLOURS alone. The blood (and there's LOTS of it) never even comes close to realistic. Quite right too. Otherwise I couldn't have written about it in an article of how realism in cinema sucks.
Finally, despite warnings of the direst kind, I went to see Sunshine, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland's homage to, well...just about every sci fi movie they've watched. I suspect it's actually an homage to every sci fi movie they've watched while stoned, but never mind. Riddled with inconsistencies - which a colleague insists are the major failing of every such film - it nonetheless (and considering its tiny budget) takes your breath away. Colour is the main character here, too. Lots of blue grey interiors contrasting gorgeously with all that orange and yellow. Yummy. But apart from the utterly predictable plot (and I mean by this that any 5-year old could guess at every turn what will happen next) and the luscious palette, the most fun is actually clocking the references long after it's finished. Boyle and Garland must have LOVED the thought that a zillion nerds would ponder the references. Beyond the obvious 2001, Alien and Event Horizon touches (touches?!? more like slaps across the face) you'll end up waking up in the night going 'Last best hope for mankind? Ah! Babylon 5!' or (as I did last night) 'Akira!!' (anyone get that one?). This is a film that's designed to be digested posthumously and isn't remotely bothered that it hasn't got an original bone in its body. Fair play. Maybe now we can get on with making properly abstract films that aren't tied to all that story stuff.