Eye For Film >> Movies >> Santa Sangre (1989) Blu-Ray Review
Reviewed by: David GrahamRead David Graham's film review of Santa Sangre
Disappointingly, all of the special features were present on the superlative 2004 Anchor Bay DVD (even the new artwork is thoroughly boring compared to that release's Graham Humphreys VHS graphic painting). They are excellent extras in their own right, but it's a real shame to be deprived of the new features produced for the 2011 R1 release, which despite being trumped by Mr Bongo's UK Blu's visuals at least included a new retrospective documentary on the film itself among other freshly-produced goodies.
La Constellation Jodorowsky remains the most edifying bonus - it could arguably be sold separately, being feature length, hugely engaging and enormously enlightening - but having also appeared as part of Tartan's box set and Anchor Bay's edition of this film it's only really of use to the uninitiated (and it's still presented in very rough standard definition). Anyone who hasn't seen it will be enthralled by Jodorowsky's life-story and unabashedly eccentric but animalistic persona: his discussions of the failed Salvador Dali-assisted Dune project are especially intriguing, while his views on modern cinema (the only recent film he has time for is Starship Troopers!) will provide a chuckle and partially explain why he's avoided contributing to it since Santa Sangre.
Climaxing with a demonstration of Jodorowsky's shamanistic psycho-magic, the doc gives great insight into his enquiry on the nature of religion and religious iconography, adding further depth and context to his work that's fruitful for future viewings. Animal lovers may not be impressed by his unrepentant attitude towards the needless rabbit, reptile and amphibian slaughter that provided El Topo and The Holy Mountain with some of their indelible imagery, but overall it's an imaginatively mounted portrait of a singular man whose whole life has obviously been devoted to his art, his impulses and the art of living itself.
Elsewhere, an entertaining commentary featuring Alan Jones finds the director on reliably prickly but warm form, with the pair appearing together again for an amusing 2002 interview. There's a quick overview of Jodorowsky's cult cinema works, and a few deleted scenes that could probably have been easily integrated into the final film without diluting it but were obviously dropped due to length concerns, as discussed by Jones and the director on the commentary. The charming short Echeck by a grown-up Adan Jodorowsky (the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree) and a trailer round out the numerous extras.
If you haven't owned the previous DVD release of Santa Sangre, you can safely add at least another star to the rating for these features, and the audio-visual presentation of the feature itself is immaculate and powerful (although the colors do seem a tad muted, perhaps a conscious decision in acknowledgement of the US release's much-criticised contrast problems). Overall, newcomers to the film as well as established admirers would do well to pick this competitively priced edition up, but hardcore fans may want to opt for the more up-to-date extras found on the R1 release.Reviewed on: 12 Feb 2013