Where did [the people claiming that I raped Mara Lorenzio on the set of El Topo in front of the camera] find reports of this alleged incident that would have happened in 1969?
It's very possible that they read some of the interviews I did in the United States or England back then. I produced El Topo independently. When I told the Mexican film industry that I was going to travel to New York to sell El Topo, they made fun of me. "You're crazy, only Emilio Fernandez ('El Indio') has ever managed to release a movie there and that's why there is a statue of him. No Mexican film has ever crossed the cactus wall." In the North American cinematographic environment of the time, Mexican cinema was despised. Hollywood dominated everything.
I had to break through using the only tool I had: shock through scandalous statements. This is how I did it: I dressed up as the mystical bandit character [the titular El Topo], I introduced myself in the interviews with a beard, a mane and a black leather suit, and I said things that purposefully shocked the interviewers. "I am an anti-feminist, I hate women. I hate cats. I've eaten human meat tacos with Diego Rivera. El Topo is a film where things really happened: that scene of rape is a real rape! I killed the animals (that in reality I had purchased dead from a local zoo) with a fork I sharpened myself!" These aggressive, meant to be humorous declarations conquered the era's young public who were against the establishment and affected by the Vietnam war. This is how I managed to get El Topo to be noticed and seen, and, thanks to the openly proclaimed admiration of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, my film became a cult classic. Half a century has passed and it continues to be screened and discussed.
It's an unbelievably trashy thing for him to say but knowing what I know about him from that period it's absolutely something he would have said.Filming a scene like this is not achieved with just a cameraman, two actors and an expanse of sand. Cinema is the most costly art because a large number of technicians and artists are required to execute it. First of all, you needed a group of workers to clean a hundred square meters of desert with rakes because of dangerous snakes and spiders that were hidden in the sand. They remained for the duration of the filming, at the ready, to intervene if necessary. There was also a group of makeup artists, hairdressers and dressmakers in charge of costumes.
[In the movie,] El Topo rips apart the woman's dress in a take that lasts 10 seconds.
It is followed by another take of El Topo [doing the same], but from a different angle. Filming stopped for half an hour or so for the technicians to change the reflectors. That is to say that in order to shoot an action sequence that does not even last more than three minutes, several hours were needed. And it wasn't just a single cameraman, but two cameras, each with one operator and four assistants. A total of 10 camera people. Added to this were crewmen placing rails where the camera slid, handling the counterweights of a crane, holding silver reflector cards so that each face is well-lit. There was also the assistant director, the group of set decorators, other actors, etc. A big crowd that the audience does not see. In addition, there were people holding the individual umbrellas protecting the actors from the sun, others that delivered water and food, etc.
How could I have possibly assaulted the actress in front of such a large assembly of people?
At the slightest hint of any actual violence, a group of men and women would have thrown themselves at me and immobilized me. The actress would have also been defending herself, howling, scratching. And I, vile satyr, would have ended up persecuted, tried and imprisoned.