Thanksgiving with Alejandro: El Topo (1970)
Fando y Lis, despite all the arty, symbolic scripting and visuals, El Topo does have a narrative thread. Taking cues from both classic Westerns and Spaghetti Westerns, Sam Peckinpah’s ultraviolet shooters, Fellini’s art house, and El Topo is the freakiest of the “acid” Westerns (a sub-genre that also contains movies like Four of the Apocalypse and Zachariah), but one portion of the film which is either overlooked or dismissed is the humor. There is both biting satire (generally of religious or conservative groups) as well as some downright absurdity. To me it brought to mind everything from Chaplin’s sly political comments to Monty Python’s zaniness (the Pythons were the favorite of another Beatle, George Harrison). As often as I was shocked, disturbed, enthralled, and confused, I found myself smiling and laughing at the film’s sharp humor.