A violent, bloody, dream-like work like no other, Alejandro Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre follows a boy who grows up in the circus and whose strange experiences mark his life.
Released in 1989, it was widely seen as a return to form for the Chilean born filmmaker, cementing his success following the counter-culture’s embrace of his early 1970s works El Topo (1970) and Holy Mountain (1973). To realise Santa Sangre, Jodorowsky collaborated with Italian Producer Claudio Argento, best known for working with his brother the director Dario Argento. The collaboration was close enough for Claudio to get a co-writer credit and the violent themes of the film would ensure enough appeal for fans of the director’s bizarre worldview and the producer’s reputation for on-screen bloodletting.
The Argento connection is also likely to have played a part in the choice of Briton Simon Boswell as composer of the film’s score as his previous credits included works that existed firmly in the Argento brothers orbit. Released theatrically by Mainline Pictures and on VHS by Palace Pictures in UK, for many, Santa Sangre (a Scala favourite) proved an unsettling, troubling and yet oddly rewarding viewing experience. That was in 1989 and 1990, it will be interesting to see how a 2019 audience reacts.
With an introduction by former Scala Cinema Club Programmer turned historian Jane Giles.