The Plaza Presents: Santa Sangre

The Plaza, Atlanta’s oldest theatre, lives on Ponce De Leon nestled in between the Righteous Room and the Majestic Diner. It opened back in 1939 and has been servicing Atlanta’s thirst for film ever since. “The Plaza Presents:” will be a weekly review of the avant garde, obscure, and rarely featured films that are played at the historic theatre.

This week Alejandro Jodorowsky’s pyschosexual drama Santa Sangre(1989) is being featured. Jodorowsky’s films include El Topo(1970), Holy Mountain(1973) and The Rainbow Thief(1994) amongst others. Jodorowsky's films deal with themes of transcendence, life, death, sex and cyclical growth. Visually they are assaulting to the senses as they blur the line between the profound and the profane. The films are littered with religious and cult symbolism that are melded together in an alchemical cinematic furnace. Santa Sangre is no different.

The film follows the life of Fenix, a child circus performer, who deals with the grotesque drama of his parent’s quarrelling. Fenix, as a child, falls in love with a deaf mute girl but she is whisked away by a fellow circus performer that is also his father’s mistress. Jodorowsky’s films deal with this type of growth through trauma with the use of large theatrics that are well suited for the big screen.

Fenix goes through many trials and tribulations until he is reunited with his mother after spending time in a unidentified mental institution. They reform and start performing together but that is when things start to go awry. As with all of Jodorowsky’s films he doesn’t talk down to the audience. He shows the observers the many different faces of his characters and lets them decide who, if anyone to side with. This ambiguity in his films is what makes them so intriguing on top of the subject matter which is still considered controversial to this day.

Santa Sangre is grandiose, gratuitous and grotesque, it pushed the limits of what cinema could say and do when it was released and still holds that quality. The Plaza will be featuring it throughout the week with showings at 4:30 and 7:15 on Monday the 29th, 7:15 on Wednesday and 4:30 Thursday. Check out Plazaatlanta.com for other features coming up in the future.