Santa Sangre (1989)

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I have always embraced weirdness, especially in films. To me, Klaus Kinski was far more interesting than Jimmy Stewart, and Johnny Depp is superior to Tom Cruise – but only in terms of keeping one interested and always guessing as to what is next. This interest I have in “weirder” people naturally led me to loving the work of a certain David Lynch, who I consider a personal hero and one who has taught me a lot about filmmaking just through his sheer adoration of making his films “different”.

Then I was introduced to Alejandro Jodorowsky and nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience when I pressed “PLAY” on Santa Sangre

What this film is basically is a panoply of visual delights, and one of the greatest surrealist artworks I have ever seen. It has some of the most disturbed storylines I have ever seen, and performances that shock and awe, seriously. Jodorowsky must either be a genius or a deranged lunatic, but this film demonstrates qualities of both. And it is spectacular.

Santa Sangre (which means “holy blood”) is filled with some of the most weirdest imagery ever captured on film – an elephant plunging off a cliff, an armless woman, a man who thinks he is a hawk and circus freaks to make any normal person cringe. This isn’t close to being a beautiful film – but what makes it so amazing is how ugly and gritty it is, because it finds beauty in the small crevices of what we normally consider taboo.

Of course this film isn’t for the faint-hearted, and it isn’t close to being family fare. But not because it is inappropriate (there is very little sexual content or foul language), but rather for the fact that it remains a disturbing but beautiful piece of art. It is work seeking out for anyone who is open-minded and enjoys “alternative” films, because love it or hate it, Santa Sangre is an experience, and one that is pretty much unforgettable.

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