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A young man named Fenix sits in a tree on the grounds of a mental hospital and remembers his childhood in a ramshackle Mexican family circus – specifically, the gruesome murder/suicide that left his knife-thrower father dead and his trapeze-artist mother minus both of her arms.
“This is a movie like none I have seen before, a wild kaleidoscope of images and outrages, a collision between Freud and Fellini.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
This is only the beginning of Santa Sangre, the mind-blowing fever dream of a thriller by the one-and-only writer/director/mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose psychedelic “event films” El Topo and The Holy Mountain gave life to the Midnight Movies of the 1970s. Making his return to filmmaking after a decade-long absence, Jodorowsky here tells the story of how the adult Fenix (played by Jodorowsky’s own son, Axel) comes to play the role of his mother’s missing limbs, both in a macabre stage show and off-stage too, where he soon discovers that mom’s hands have a murderous mind of their own. With surrealistic nods to classic horror and noir films like Psycho and Nightmare Alley, and filled with such signature Jodorowsky images as a deaf-mute mime, an elephant’s funeral and a cult of heretical women who worship an armless saint maimed by rapists, Santa Sangre is shocking, disturbing, brilliant … and definitely not for the faint of heart! (Dir. by Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1989, Mexico/Italy, in English, 123 mins., Not Rated)