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Film Tue Dec 13 2011
The antidote to your holiday spirit as arrived: A tortuous mother-son relationship, a massacre at the hands of a clown, and the scariest stop-motion short ever created are all on display at the Chicago Cinema Society this Saturday. A rare 35-millimeter print of Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre (1989), The Last Circus (2010), and the Sundance Film Festival-nominated short film "Bobby Yeah," (2011) will be screened.
Jodorowsky, widely believed to have created the midnight cult film genre, is best known for his films El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973), both surreal trips into the wilderness, Acid Westerns, and just generally crazed and confusing films. Santa Sangre focuses on Fenix, the son of circus performers. As a child he witnesses his father cut off his mother's arms, and as an adult, he must act as his mothers arms. He ultimately carries out murders at her command, in a garish and more sinister take on The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and Fellini's 8½ (1963). In an interview with the A.V. Club earlier this year, Jodorowsky said, "Santa Sangre is the picture I love the best, myself, because El Topo and The Holy Mountain I made with my head, and Santa Sangre I made with my feelings, with my heart. It's an emotional picture. And it's more real for me, that picture."
The idea of the inherently evil circus continues in The Last Circus, a Spanish film by director Álex de la Iglesia, in which the son of a circus clown reflects upon his father's triumphs both in the circus ring and on the battlefield, where he famously butchered an entire platoon of National soldiers in the Spanish Civil War.