In a Chilean little town, the son of an uprooted couple, formed by a rigorous communist father and a loving but weak mother, tries to pave his own path in a society that does not understand their Jewish-Ukrainian origins.
A former circus artist escapes from a mental hospital to rejoin his armless mother - the leader of a strange religious cult - and is forced to enact brutal murders in her name as he becomes "her arms".
So there's a good reason for why this movie is obscure: it's a really dull film. It's set in India, and you follow a French speaking British family who owns several elephants. One of them is born at the same time as the daughter of the family, and she grows up to have a near bond with it. When she comes back from school in Britain, she has to face the fact that her family sell and handle elephants for a living, and that other people are after some of these. It's all very banal, and it never gets any exciting. Not even a little bit.
I'm sure the setting of the movie is the reason for it being made, because a lot of it is just them filming how exotic India is, and having the locals play themselves and/or stereotypes of themselves. It's a big production, with a number of elephants involved, some big structures and lots of nice location shooting. But ultimately it's all for nothing, because the story the movie is telling is a drag, and because it seems like they wanted to get as much film as the could of the locations and sets, the film lasts an hour longer than it has any right to.
But it's always a fun challenge to see what there is of interest in this movie, because despite all of its flaws, the director went on to become a much loved cult movie icon. To me, the highlight of this movie was the soundtrack, which was experimental for modern standards, and some times OK. Other than that, I found little to like. The setting has been better explored other places, and watching elephants being hurt and shuffled about is not a pleasant experience.
Watch this if you want to explore the full catalog of Jodorowsky's films. Don't watch it if you want to have a good time. It's not "as bad it's good", it's "as dull as heck".
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