Why watch it: Because this semi-musical written and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky is a crazy inventive metaphor-filled memoir-fantasy about the director, his mother, and his father set in Chile during the reign of a ruthless general.
Warning: Plot spoilers ahead.
Story: Alejandro’s father tries to popularize himself and create an image of being pro-poor. He attempts to hide the fact that they are a family of prosperous Jews, and tries hard to make his son fit in. But somehow things don’t go his way.
Disabled war veterans shout slogans outside his shop. The wife protests against the son’s hairdo being chopped. His son Alejandro’s seems to turn towards mystical acceptance of multiple religious idea. A mob of hungry infected poor eat up the animals he uses to donate food. And then he is stuck by a painful disease. But his wife cures his ailments, and with a renewed vigour Alejandro’s father decides he will try something grander than his previous projects. He decides that it will be his mission to kill the Chilean dictator Ibanez. He leaves town determined to achieve his goal .
But there are twists in the tale, and at no point does the father seem closer to the goal. He suffers great torments, while his wife and son learn tools and tricks to get by, quite easily unlike him. Finally, Alejandro’s father realizes worshipping the ‘dictator within’ is at the heart of his biggest problem.
Rating: 4.8 Out of 5. Some of the sequences stretch way too long. A particular nude scene that seems to promote faith healing also may not appeal to many. But its sometimes-musical-sometimes-quiet tone, the unusualness of the vivid images, the creative use of metaphors, and the twists and turns held my attention. All-in-all it’s a masterpiece.