Santa Sangre - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Santa Sangre Reviews

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August 9, 2016
Santa Sangre is, at this point, Jodorowsky's best movie in my opinion. He has a knack for putting in seemingly pointless scenes, but in this film makes every scene mean something and count. The movie is a visual spectacle along with a philosophical character study resulting in an engaging, strange, and entertaining viewing experience.
½ July 6, 2016

As one of his last big films, Jodorowsky shows all of his talent and all of his progress when it comes to film making in general; Santa Sangre, fueled by an amazing soundtrack, is simply magnificent and charming from start to finish, and while the story is a bit too familiar, it is accesible enough and beautifully written to make it one of his best efforts in his strange and intriguing carreer.
February 3, 2016
I adored the film not for its horror, which is ample, but for its ingenious story and the seemingly boundless imagination of its creator.
January 4, 2016
I adore this movie. The first hour is slow, but the second hour is dripping with gore, intrigue, serial murder, and complete insanity. It's marvelous. A young son of circus performers witnesses his father cut off his mother's arms (amazing shot btw) and slash his own throat. Then things really go off the rails.

SANTA SANGRE is definitely an art film with long scenes that seemingly don't serve the plot - or does it really have a plot? The movie could have a plot, as the main twist is fantastic and ripe for drama, but Jodorowsky fills the film with bizarre set pieces and characters, some of which have little bearing on the heart of the story. The cast includes some gems, including three of his sons and many actual carnival performers. It's also positively gorgeous and possibly beyond words.
December 4, 2015
Our Daily Free Stream: Alejandro Jodorowsky - Santa Sangre. Eine Woche voller Jodorowsky! Unser mit Abstand am meisten verliehener Regisseur der Vor-Weihnachtszeit! Das hat doch Humor und deshalb gibts jetzt Santa Sangre, um mal reinzuschauen. Vor allem ist Santa Sangre eine Rückkehr in die wilden Tage des Kinos, als es noch skandalös und einzigartig sein durfte! Santa Sangre ist ein Film, wie ich ihn nie zuvor sah! Sehr blutig, glamorös, herrlich! Im Grunde ist Santa Sangre ein Film über das Geheimnis der Nacht. Jodorowsky kehrt zurück zu seinen Wurzeln und bietet einen zweistündigen Trip, einen Exzess für die Wahrnehmung. In Mexiko fährt Fenix umher mit dem Wanderzirkus seines Vaters. Der Vater ist ein starker Mann mit Tattoos, die Mutter eine Akrobatin am Trapez, eingehüllt in ihre Lockenmähne. Ausserdem ist sie so etwas wie die Anführerin eines geheimen Cults von Frauen, die einer Gottheit ohne Arme ergeben sind (ein Mann verletzte sie, nahm ihr die Arme). Das Blut dieser Heiligen: Santa Sangre. Während die Mutter am Trapez durch die Luft wirbelt, beobachtet sie ihren Mann, der den Zirkus mit einer anderen Frau (voller Tattoos) verlässt. Sie folgt ihm, tötet die Frau und verabreicht dem Gatten Gift. Er schneidet ihr die Arme ab und begeht schliesslich Selbstmord. Jahre später begegnenen wir dem Sohn in einer Nervenheilanstalt. Er sitzt auf einem Baum und verweigert jegliche Form von Kommunikation. Der Mutter gelingt es, ihn zurückzuholen in die Welt, wo er einem taubstummen Mädchen begegnet. Sein Weg draussen wirkt wie ein symbolischer Trip für Freudianer, denn er mutiert zum Sklaven der Mutter ohne Arme. Während sie gemeinsam in einem Nachtclub auftreten, fragt man sich allerdings, ob das nun alles tatsächlich geschieht? Diese Fragen aber wird Jodorwosky nicht für uns beantworten, stattdessen wirft er uns in den Strudel der Ereignisse, die den Film vorantreiben. Unvergesslich die Szene des Elefanten-Begräbnisses... Fenix Trip in die Stadt wird von Jodorowsky mit mongoloiden Kindern besetzt und nun befinden wir uns irgendwo zwischen Fiktion und Dokumentation. In Santa Sangre liegt das Innerste der Seele bloss. Ins Kino zu gehen, um das zu sehen, was ich schon in und auswendig kenne - das erlebe ich nicht in Santa Sangre. 18 Jahre lang hat Jodorowsky versucht, einen Film zu machen und all seine Frustration bricht in diesem Meisterwerk heraus! Ein Film voller Energie, voller Kraft, ja, Visionen! Eine Seltenheit im Kino, aber Jodorowsky ist nicht langweilig.
October 7, 2015
It's like a circus and gore version of Psycho. Beyond weird.
½ July 25, 2015
You don't know the meaning of the word bizarre until you've seen Santa Sangre. Alejandro Jodorowsky's sick, twisted and very, very bloody tale of madness, revenge and hacked-off limbs is his preferred film due to it being the only Jodorowsky him that has anything resembling a plot. Try to imagine the craziest nightmare that Salvador Dali might have had after eating a plateful of Chinese food just before bed, and it still won't come close to the sheer bonkersosity of Santa Sangre. The rules of cause and effect simply do not apply anywhere inside this particular movie universe. Santa Sangre is less a plotted story and more a movie adaptation of the mental state an Alzheimer's patient achieves on heavy doses of LSD: Not only is logic totally fucked, but nothing is even connected chronologically, and just as soon as you think you're making sense of things, it's current time your armless mother is forcing you to commit bloody murder by standing behind her and acting as her arms. This influential, freakshow of a movie strands together scenes of unsimulated bizzaros, extraordinary violence, and interactions so discomforting you can scarcely believe your eyes. The effect, akin to the most lucid, disturbing nightmare you've ever had, is enhanced by Simon Boswells otherworldly score and Daniele Nannuzzi's cinematography. If you can even call it cinematography. It's an unforgettable film, and unlike anything you've ever seen before.
June 14, 2015
Extraordinary film. Magnificent directing and mind bending story. One of the must watch classics.
May 22, 2015
My second Alejandro Jodorowsky film and it was a real treat. I did not know what to expect, except that it would be weird. Probably very weird.

We follow Fenix - portraied by another Jodorowsky, his son Axel. He is in a mental hospital since he saw some gruesome stuff done to his mother when he was younger. We are served his reasons for his issues as flashbacks, among other happenings.

Then, stories are combined and we get some sort of a film similiar to "Psycho" in way. It's not THAT weird. Well, it got a stolid story around all the madness making a bit less random at times. The horror is desguised in the absurdity and the happy circus music. Blod, guts, nutity and violence is all over, but it's almost unnoticed many times - the story feels surprizingly strong.

Not the weirdest film I have seen, but probably one the best weird-flicks out there. It's actually even a moving film. That's impressive! It evolves into someting both weirder and scarier after the first hour. Even if I like the ending, I liked the first part a lot better. The second half is jaw-droppingly varied and creative though, just as i expected it to be from the very start.

Loads of fun, great filming. It's hard to explain with words - so many things happen here - many of them very far out.

Unforgettable, surrealistic masterpiece, but certainly not a film for everyone.

8.5 out of 10 dying elephants.
May 10, 2015
Jodorowsky's most "accessible" film. It is also his most emotionally moving and almost as thought provoking as "El Topo." Perhaps not as strictly spiritual, but emotional on a very human level.
½ April 26, 2015
Weird, surreal, disturbing and humorless. If you're a fan of Nine Inch Nails you'll notice the intro to Mr Self Destruct.
March 14, 2015
In my humble opinion, the greatest metaphysical slasher film ever made. Utterly Dazzling and horrifying to behold. Jodowrsky's masterpiece.
½ March 6, 2015
Less tripping than his prior films, though his hallucinating horror approach never reaches into me. It's weird and yet not even controversial within the Jodorowsky scale.
February 22, 2015
Adiós mujer, adiós para siempre, adiós.
½ February 7, 2015
Really liked a lot of moments, but never really connected with the characters. The visuals and strange surreal plot were very interesting. And I appreciate any movie that shows a pimp give down syndrome children cocaine and hookers.
½ August 31, 2014
Bizarre film with some disturbing scenes but, as a lover of original movies, I'd say this is one of the best. Weird but interesting story too
August 20, 2014
The ever-present Jodorowskian motifs make for another mystical and in depth trip of a film, albeit a little less surreal than previous entries.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2014
Santa Sangre follows a young man named Fenix from his traumatizing childhood through the present attempting to live a normal life. The film narrative is straightforward while the way it tells it story is surreal. Right from the introduction of Fenix we understand this young man is not well. Once the flashback begins you receive the foundation that structures religion, sexuality, obsession, and identity into it central themes. Each introduce in odd context that triggers an array of emotions. One scene in particular that stood out occurred after the funeral of a circus Elephant. A huge coffin carrying the corpse is hauled by a truck to a ravine and tipped over the edge to get eaten by the locals in a shanty town. Not only does this easily telegraphed how distraught a young Fenix must be feeling, but also illustrate the contrast between the joyous surreal circus life and the cruel reality when it comes into the picture when Fenix is a full grown adult. It's a scene that imprint an odd image as much as it does fuel interpretations on its possible meaning. Every scene is easy to read and the meaning upon receiving development become layered. It's a film that while reliant heavily on metaphors has dialogue that directly gets across the main story. While the metaphors are tackling the subjectivity behind faith indirectly. In the center of attention is the more direct physiological torment of Fenix. Whose unable to free himself from the control of his mother. Fenix and his mother are in hindsight very complicated characters. One lives with a mask of following a faith she herself doesn't live purely by her faith. Another is a man whose unable to form an identity of himself.

Characters arrive in all forms of personality further adding to that surreal nature of the narrative. Fenix and his mother have the most prominent roles in the story being told. Together these two offer a story about redemption and revenge. In hindsight, Fenix childhood sneakily provides clever characterization or a physiological regression. As a young boy, Fenix wears a man's moustache to imitate maturity. During his childhood he shows the least amount of childlike fear or sadness arguably in his mentally assured state. As oppose when Fenix becomes an adult he's unable to detach himself from his mother influence for his own livelihood. Another usage of Fenix characteristics are the usage of birds. When we first meet Fenix, he is locked in a nuthouse, living like a human bird. His obsession with the mime-faced deaf/mute girl centers around her graceful panto of a hawk. Until the birds disappear from visual sight to juxtapose the trap Fenix is in - mentally and physically - with the freedom of being unable to simply 'fly away' from his mother control. The best aspect about these birds narrative usage is even if its missed the same intention gets across. Fenix mother, Concha, is positioned in the story in such a way where nothing ever feels lost when it narrative reaches it conclusion. Concha is a given a backstory that conveys her upcoming downfall and a motivation that is shown in developing in her scenes. Becoming a fleshed out character with her own arc. One key moment in the film that is rather genius is the film twist. I was able to catch the usage of birds as metaphors, but this twist genuinely caught me off guard. Not only does the twist has the potential to catch any viewer off guard, but it's rather fitting for the film surreal nature. Closing the story metaphorically on its themes while directly closing the conflict Fenix faces.

Alejandro Jodorowsky lets his visuals do the speaking more so than his dialogue. The rich color palette adds to the almost otherworldly elements of the visual narrative. Mixing colorful costumes and set designs against the dark context of scene. From the sterility of the hospital gives way to an explosion of vivid colous when we fly to the circus. Before long, this multihued vibrancy is then itself with the bizarre 'elephant funeral procession' is burdened with sobering blacks and charcoal complete with a grey American Flag. Jodorowsky visuals is a story tool giving it more meaning than just simply looking pretty. Laid on top of the visuals is an incredibly convincing musical score. Simon Boswell's soundtrack fluently bonds with the varying moods to become immersed in the Mexican fantasy. Blanca Guerra is excellent in the role of Concha. Her ability to convey far surpasses her co stars who all play characters with their arms in tact. Axel Jodorowsky delivers a more subdue performance which he pulls off. There's hardly a moment of certainty in the way he deliver his lines going hand to hand with his characters. Where these two actors shine are their scenes working in perfect sync. Using Axel Jodorowsky hands to convey the illusion of Blanca Guerra hands movement in several are synce in movement and emotion. It's a convincing sight to behold when the actors have great chemistry and can in sync in such scenes so perfectly.

Santa Sangre (Holy Blood) covers various themes both directly and indirectly that is not accomplished very often in filmmaking. It's a film that has a straightforward story and the viewer understands there's plenty of layers behind the way it's made, but never does it offer a moment of doubt in its execution. Not everything Santa Sangre touches on will immediately come around in full circle for a revelation in how it balanced all of it themes. Neither is it lost on the audience telling a straightforward story that even if not the pieces come together the intention of it is never lost. On a technical level it's an achievement of captivating visuals, the performances are outstanding, and the narrative very fulfilling even without all its meaning being found. Plain and simple it's a masterpiece.
½ July 6, 2014
My first Jodorowsky and I can not wait to see more. It was weird and twisted, I really enjoyed this movie.
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