“El Topo”: A Quick (Unfinished?) Synopsis

Midnight movie at The Music Box:
The movie takes place in two parts. The first half, in an unnamed desert, begins with the title character, accompanied by his naked son, hunting down and killing a band of outlaws who have butchered the inhabitants of a town. After leaving his son with monks he has rescued from the outlaws, he rides off with a woman the outlaws had kept captive to defeat the four great masters of pistol duelling. As El Topo encounters each of the first three masters, the master teaches El Topo a lesson and they then duel, in which El Topo cheats every time. The final master kills himself, in a demonstration of the unimportance of life. The first half ends with El Topo’s betrayal and near-murder by the woman and an unnamed informant.

The second half of the movie takes place years later, after El Topo is rescued by a band of deformed outcasts, saving him from death. The outcasts take El Topo to their underground community, where he, comatose, meditates on the four lessons for many years. When he awakes, he is ‘born again’ with the help of the outcasts, and goes on a quest to free them from their subterranean prison.

With the help of his dwarf girlfriend and his full-grown son, now a priest, El Topo digs an exit out of the cave, only to see the others of his community murdered by cultists from a nearby town. In a rage, El Topo kills them all, then pours oil on himself and sets himself on fire, as he has learned all he can about life.

El Topo’s son and girlfriend survive the ordeal and make a grave for his remains, which becomes a beehive full of honey.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: