Alejandro Jodorowsky
"The apocalypse is now! Americans know this, that the only hope is the flying saucers. Do you know how I see the world? Like a person who is dying. It's a worm who is dying to make a butterfly. We must not stop the worm from dying, we must help the worm to die to help the butterfly to be born. We need to dance with death. This world is dying, but very well. We will make a big, big enormous butterfly. You and I will be the first movements in the wings of the butterfly because we are speaking like this."
~ ~ Alejandro Jodorowsky

The revered underground film-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky once stated, "I ask of cinema what most North Americans ask of psychedelic drugs." Born in 1930 in Iquique, Chile, Jodorowsky had an enigmatic childhood before travelling to Paris in 1953 to study mime with Marcel Marceau. During the 1960s, Jodorowsky experimented with mimes and cartooning (his 'Fabulas Panicas Weekly' comic strip enjoyed a long run in Mexico), staging avant-garde performance art such as 'Sacramental Melodrama' (1964), a four hour play which combined religious themes and violence (later to become Jodorowsky themes). Together with French surrealists Fernando Arrabal and Roland Topor, he formed the 'Theater of Panic' (1962) which staged happenings and caused general mayhem.

In 1968, Jodorowsky made his directorial debut with the film 'Fando Y Lis', which reflected the psychological dislocation and socio-political upheaval enveloping Mexico.

However, it was 'El Topo' (1971) which catapulted Jodorowsky to cult status. Hailed by John Lennon as a masterpiece, 'El Topo' revealed Jodorowsky to be the cinematic heir to Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel. The dreamlike imagery of 'El Topo' also suggested Jodorowsky's proximity to avant-garde film-makers such as Kenneth Anger and Maya Deren (it can be best described as a 'psychedelic western'). Jodorowsky wrote the script and soundtrack, handled direction, and starred in 'El Topo', adding to his notoriety.

His followup 'The Holy Mountain' (1974) continued an uncompromising exploration of primal atavisms and deeply spiritual imagery, often transgressive. Hollywood beckoned. And then the hyperbolic weirdness erupted.

There are many conflicting stories about Jodorowsky's ill-fated attempts to bring Frank Herbert's novel 'Dune' (1965) to the screen, but the cast of collaborators was incredible. Pink Floyd offered to write the score at the peak of their creativity. Salvador Dali, Gloria Swanson, and Orson Welles were cast. Dan O'Bannon was hired to supervize special effects; illustrator Chris Foss to design spacecraft; H.R. Giger to design the world of Geidi Prime and the Harkonnens; artist Jean 'Moebius' Giraud drew thousands of sketches. The project eventually collapsed in 1977, subsequently being passed onto Ridley Scott, and then to David Lynch, whose film (1983) was panned by audience and critics alike. Could Jodorowsky - master of profound mythological themes - have outdone George Lucas?

Jodorowsky's next film 'TUSK' (1978) languished in obscurity, and he spent six years developing the scenario for what eventually became 'Santa Sangre' (1989), a fiercely personal exploration of family dynamics, murder, and obsession. Critically well-received, 'Santa Sangre' led to a resurgence of interest in Jodorowsky's ouvre.

'The Rainbow Thief' (1990) is probably the most commercial project that Jodorowsky has done, although he hated working with Peter O'Toole. 'Viaje a Tul™n' (1994) and 'Abelcaim' (1999) show a welcome return to form. Jodorowsky has also published many novels and comic books, and his Vision continues to influence many artists who today explore the psyche's inner cartography, most notably Marilyn Manson. Love or loathe him, Jodorowsky is truly Underground Cinema's enigmatic 'lost' auteur.

Research by Alex Burns
alex.burns@disinfo.net



The Symbol Grows: Alejandro Jodorowsky
One of the best Alejandro Jodorowsky sites on the Internet, with details of his book, comic, and film projects; rare images; links; news, and more. Highly recommended!
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The Art Of Tarot
Alejandro Jodorowsky on the restored 'Tarot of Marseilles', including its history, interpretation, origins, and possible meanings of the major arcana (Jodorowsky's interpetation is very interesting).
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Mexperimental Cinema
A stunning essay on the film industry production factors which helped create experimental and surrealist Mexican cinema. Absolutely required reading to understand Alejandro Jodorowsky in a wider context. Features perceptive comments such as: "For Jodorowsky, strong connections to the avant‚garde cinema of the United States are apparent. The occult fascinations of Kenneth Anger, the surrealism and ethnopoetics of Maya Deren, the beat hysterics of Robert Frank: all have interstitial moments in Jodorowsky's oeuvre. But just as strong, one could argue, are a myriad of other influences, from the 'Theatre of Cruelty' of Antonin Artaud to the visceral and explicit strains of George Bataille, and on to the performances involving bodies and sculptural forms of the sixties/seventies, like Latin American conceptual artists HÈlio Oiticica and Lygia Clark."
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Like Water For Legless Dwarves
An emotional essay about Alejandro Jodorowsky's battles with the Hollywood studio system, aptly describing him as "the Great Lost Filmmaker - Chile's lunatic genius, the Mad Hatter, the Dali of celluloid." A must-read!
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The Dope Show
The film-clip for the Marilyn Manson song 'The Dope Show' (1997) partly draws upon imagery from Alejandro Jodorowsky's film 'The Holy Mountain' (1975) for inspiration. Directed by Paul Hunter. RealVideo. 4 minutes.
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Film Surreal: An Interview With Alejandro Jodorowsky
Alejandro Jodorowsky speaks openly about the threat of apocalypse; the qualities of a good actor; female characters; religion and violence; his artistic agenda. Compelling thoughts from a gifted film-maker.
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Rain Taxi Interview: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Alejandro Jodorowsky speaks revealingly in this interview about growing up in Paris, and his early influences. Captures a period of Jodorowsky's life not usually examined by critics or fans.
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Dune: Jodorowsky's Magnificent Failure
Details of the failed 1970s film production by Alejandro Jodorowsky of Frank Herbert's book 'Dune' (1965), including Jodorowsky's personal recollections. An intriguing exploration of one of cinema's 'lost' films.
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The Dune You'll Never See
This riveting 'Space.com' article (October 18th, 2000) by Robert Scott Martin provides an overview of the attempt by Alejandro Jodorowsky to bring Frank Herbert's 'Dune' to the screen. Jodorowsky comments: "The project of Dune changed our lives."
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Disinformation Dossier on Marilyn Manson
Check out the Disinformation dossier on Marilyn Manson.
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Disinformation Dossier On Kenneth Anger
Check out the Disinformation dossier on Kenneth Anger.
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Disinformation Dossier On H.R, Giger, Perinatal Imagery, & Demonic Beauty
Check out the Disinformation dossier on H.R, Giger, Perinatal Imagery, & Demonic Beauty.
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Urban Outlaw Productions: A Treatise On Influence
This outline of the transition from the Hollywood 'studio system' ('classical' narrative structures) to independent and avant-garde film is good background for understanding the deep and lasting impact of Alejandro Jodorowsky's films.
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Alejandro Jodorowsky: Biography
A brief Alejandro Jodorowsky biographical data-file in French.
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Internet Movie Database: Alejandro Jodorowsky
The 'Internet Movie Database' page on Alejandro Jodorowsky features a detailed biography, quotes, film details, and the name of Jodorowsky's spouse!
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Moebius
The comic series 'Incal' was a stunning collaboration between Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius (one of the most important comic book artists). This page details the meeting between two unique minds and the incredible result.
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Alejandro Jodorowsky
A study of Alejandro Jodorowsky's vision and morality, featuring quotes by William S. Burroughs, Andre Breton, and Genesis P-Orridge. In Russian.
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Alejandro Jodorowsky: El Topo
This Alejandro Jodorowsky biography page features extensive details regarding his seminal surrealist film 'El Topo' (1971). In Spanish.
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Bibliography: Jodorowsky
A lengthy bibliography of Alejandro Jodorowsky's comic book and film projects. Very clear interface design.
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Close Up: El Topo
An in-depth critical review of Alejandro Jodorowsky's film 'El Topo' (1971) revealse the psychological sources of its uncompromising surrealist imagery.
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The Mexican Film Resource Page
A great collection of essays and Internet links for understanding the Mexican film industry's conditions, and why Alejandro Jodorowsky is such a unique film-maker. Very useful for background research.
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Alejandro Jodorowsky
A listing of Alejandro Jodorowksy's films and documentaries, including several recently 'rediscovered' projects. A succinct but useful overview.
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Santa Sangre
This very positive review of 'Santa Sangre' (1989) lists some interesting production trivia for Jodorowsky fans.
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Portraits: Alejandro Jodorowsky
This profile of Alejandro Jodorowsky (June 6th, 1998) provides a timeline, contemporary photo, and an excellent summary of his many comic book and film projects. In French.
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The Ultimate Trip: Inside The Head Film
This essay places Alejandro Jodorowsky's seminal 1970s films within the wider context of avant-garde and exploitation cinema trends, including the socio-political upheavals of the 1960s Counter-culture. Part of an enjoyable and well-designed web-site.
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El Topo And The Conceit Of Alejandro Jodorowsky
A critical review of Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'El Topo' (1971) scathingly attacks what the author perceives as the 'slavering, toady reverence' heaped upon Jodorowsky. The author asserts that Jodorowsky 'stole' most of his techniques from Luis Bunuel. Useful example of a dissenting perspective.
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Jodorowsky's Dune
This page devoted to Alejandro Jodorowsky's attempted production of Frank Herbert's 'Dune' (1965) includes a gallery of images created by H.R. Giger for the project.
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Alejandro Jodorowsky: I Love This Man
Some devoted fans will go to great lengths to express their feelings about Alejandro Jodorowsky. Not this one!
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1000 Greatest Films Of All Time
Jodorowsky makes the list!
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Revenge Of The Flying Luttenbachers: The Holy Mountain
"This one came out of my brain in late '95 after being blown away by the Alejandro Jodorowsky film of the same name. I was envisioning a music that had purely horizontal flow, released from the tired straitjacket of conventional meter, without sacrificing the rewarding discipline of focused group unity."
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Mighty Mighty Movie Poster Mania: Santa Sangre
Now you can purchase the rare movie poster of Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Santa Sangre' (1989) online. Be quick before Disinformation's Creative Director beats you to it!
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Whipped Women In Movies
Alejandro Jodorowksy's seminal film 'El Topo' (1971) is featured in an extensive list of scenes featuring whipped women. For bona fide Sadeians only!
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Shock Cinema: The Holy Mountain
'Shock Cinema' review of Alejandro Jodorowsky's film 'The Holy Mountain' (1973) aptly sums it up as: "the celluloid mind-roaster of all time!"
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Imaginary Graves: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Artist Sylvia Leidi imagines what Alejandro Jodorowsky's grave would have resembled, had he died in 1965 and been buried in the famous Pere Lachaise cemetary.
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Quotations From The Cast And Crew Of The Movie Dune
A comment by 'Dune' author Frank Herbert on the 'stillborn' Alejandro Jodorowsky film version is included in this quotes collection (note the lucrative Catholic psychographic), which reads like a press release gone awry!
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Algunos Cuentos De Alejandro Jodorowsky
Brief thoughts by an Alejandro Jodorowsky fan. In Spanish.
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Major Practitioners Of The Grotesque: Alejandro Jodorowsky
A collection of Alejandro Jodorowsky links and images.
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