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This article will be permanently flagged as inappropriate and made unaccessible to everyone. Are you certain this article is inappropriate? Email Address:. Best known for his avant-garde films, he has been "venerated by cult cinema enthusiasts" for his work which "is filled with violently surreal images and a hybrid blend of mysticism and religious provocation".

Born to Jewish-Ukrainian parents in Chile, Jodorowsky experienced an unhappy and alienated childhood, and so immersed himself in reading and writing poetry. Dropping out of college, he became involved in theater and in particular mime, working as a clown before founding his own theater troupe, the Teatro Mimico , in From he divided his time between Paris and Mexico City, in the former becoming a founding member of the anarchistic avant-garde Panic Movement of performance artists.

In he created his first comic strip, Anibal 5 , while in he directed his first feature film, the surrealist Fando y Lis , which caused a huge scandal in Mexico, eventually being banned. The result was The Holy Mountain , a surrealist exploration of western esotericism. Disagreements with the film's distributor Allen Klein , however, led to both The Holy Mountain and El Topo failing to gain widespread distribution, although both became classics on the underground film circuit.

After an aborted attempt at filming Frank Herbert 's novel Dune , Jodorowsky produced three more films, the family film Tusk , the surrealist horror Santa Sangre and the failed blockbuster The Rainbow Thief Meanwhile, he has simultaneously written a series of science fiction comic books, most notably The Incal — , which has been described as having a claim to be "the best comic book" ever written, [7] and also The Technopriests and Metabarons.

Accompanying this, he has also written books and regularly lectures on his own spiritual system, which he calls "psychomagic" and "psychoshamanism" and which borrows from his interests in alchemy , the tarot , Zen Buddhism and shamanism.

Jodorowsky was born in in the coastal town of Tocopilla , Chile , to parents who were Polish immigrants from Yekaterinoslav now Dnipropetrovsk , Elisavetgrad now Kirovohrad and other cities of the Russian Empire. His father, Jaime Jodorowsky Groismann, was a merchant, [10] who was largely abusive to his wife Sara Felicidad Prullansky Arcavi, and at one time accused her of flirting with a customer.

Angered, he subsequently beat and raped her, getting her pregnant, which led to the birth of Alejandro. Because of this brutal conception, Sara both hated her husband and disliked her son, telling him that "I cannot love you" and rarely showing him tenderness. Nonetheless he liked his local area, and was greatly unhappy when he was forced to leave it aged nine years old, something for which he blamed his father.

He immersed himself in reading, and also began writing poetry, having his first poem published when he was sixteen years old, alongside associating with such Chilean poets as Nicanor Parra and Enrique Lihn.

After dropping out, and having an interest in theatre and particularly mime , he took up employment as a clown in a circus and began a career as a theatre director. Nonetheless, Jodorowsky felt that there was little for him left in Chile, and so that year he moved to Paris, France.

It was with Marceau's troupe that he went on a world tour, and wrote several routines for the group, including "The Cage" and "The Mask Maker". After this, he returned to theatre directing, working on the music hall comeback of Maurice Chevalier in Paris.

It consisted almost entirely of mime, and told the surreal story of a head-swapping merchant who helps a young man find courtship success. Jodorowsky played the lead role. The director Jean Cocteau admired the film, and wrote an introduction for it.

It was considered lost until a print of the film was discovered in In , Jodorowsky moved to Mexico , where he settled down in Mexico City.

The movement aimed to go beyond the conventional surrealist ideas by embracing absurdism. Its members refused to take themselves seriously, while laughing at those critics who did. The following year he created a new feature film, Fando y Lis , [14] loosely based on a play written by Fernando Arrabal , who was working with Jodorowsky on performance art at the time.

Fando y Lis premiered at the Acapulco Film Festival, where it instigated a riot amongst those objecting to the film's content, [15] and subsequently it was banned in Mexico. Jodorowsky became a disciple of Takata and offered his own house to be turned into a zendo.

Subsequently Takata attracted other disciples around him, who spent their time in meditation and the study of koans. In , Jodorowsky released the film El Topo , which sometimes is known in English as The Mole , [14] which he had both directed and starred in.

An acid western , El Topo tells the story of a wandering Mexican bandit and gunslinger , El Topo played by Jodorowsky , who is on a search for spiritual enlightenment, taking his young son along with him. Along the way, he violently confronts a number of other individuals, before finally being killed and being resurrected to live within a community of deformed people who are trapped inside a mountain cave.

Describing the work, he stated that "I ask of film what most North Americans ask of psychedelic drugs. The difference being that when one creates a psychedelic film, he need not create a film that shows the visions of a person who has taken a pill; rather, he needs to manufacture the pill.

It attracted the attention of rock musician and countercultural figure John Lennon , who thought very highly of it, and convinced the president of The Beatles ' company Apple Corps , Allen Klein , to distribute it in the United States.

The result was The Holy Mountain , released in The Holy Mountain was another complex, multi-part story that featured a man credited as "The Thief" and equated with Jesus Christ , a mystical alchemist played by Jodorowsky, seven powerful business people representing seven of the planets Venus and the six planets from Mars to Pluto , a religious training regimen of spiritual rebirth, and a quest to the top of a holy mountain for the secret of immortality.

During the completion of The Holy Mountain , Jodorowsky received spiritual training from Oscar Ichazo of the Arica School , who encouraged him to take LSD and guided him through the subsequent psychedelic experience. Klein had promised this adaptation to various investors. Jodorowsky, who had discovered feminism during the filming of The Holy Mountain , refused to make the film, going so far as to leave the country to escape directing duties.

In retaliation, Allen Klein made El Topo and The Holy Mountain , to which he held the rights, completely unavailable to the public for more than 30 years. Jodorowsky frequently decried Klein's actions in interviews. Soon after the release of The Holy Mountain , Jodorowsky gave a talk at the Teatro Julio Castillo , University of Mexico on the subject of koans despite the fact that he initially had been booked on the condition that his talk would be about cinematography , at which Ejo Takata appeared.

After the talk, Takata gave Jodorowsky his kyosaku , believing that his former student had mastered the art of understanding koans. In December , a French consortium led by Jean-Paul Gibon purchased the film rights to Frank Herbert 's epic science fiction novel Dune and asked Jodorowsky to direct a film version. Jodorowsky set up a pre-production unit in Paris consisting of Chris Foss , a British artist who designed covers for science fiction publications, Jean Giraud Moebius , a French illustrator who created and also wrote and drew for Metal Hurlant magazine, and H.

The production for the film collapsed when no film studio could be found willing to fund the movie to Jodorowsky's terms.

The aborted production was chronicled in the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune. Subsequently, the rights for filming were sold to Dino de Laurentiis , who employed the American filmmaker David Lynch to direct, creating the film Dune in After the collapse of the Dune project, Jodorowsky completely changed course and, in , premiered his children's fable Tusk , shot in India. Taken from Reginald Campbell 's novel Poo Lorn of the Elephants , the film explores the soul-mate relationship between a young British woman living in India and a highly prized elephant.

The film exhibited little of the director's outlandish visual style and was never given wide release. In Jodorowsky divorced his wife. The film received limited theatrical distribution, putting Jodorowsky back on the cultural map despite its mixed critical reviews.

Santa Sangre was a surrealist film with a plot similar to Alfred Hitchcock 's Psycho. It featured a protagonist who, as a child, saw his mother lose both her arms, and as an adult let his own arms act as hers, and so was forced to commit murders at her whim.

Several of Jodorowsky's sons were recruited as actors. He followed in with a very different film, The Rainbow Thief. That same year , Jodorowsky and his family returned to live in France. In , Alejandro's son, Teo, died in an accident while his father was busy preparing for a trip to Mexico City to promote his new book.

Upon arriving in Mexico City, he gave a lecture at the Julio Castillo Theatre where once again he met Ejo Takata, who at this time had moved into a poor suburb of the city where he had continued to teach meditation and Zen.

Takata would die two years later, and Jodorowsky would never get to see his old friend again. Jodorowsky attended the festival and his films were shown, including El Topo and The Holy Mountain , which at the time had grey legal status. According to festival director Bryan Wendorf , it was an open question of whether CUFF would be allowed to show both films, or whether the police would show up and shut the festival down.

Notably, Fando y Lis and La cravate were digitally restored extensively and remastered in London during late , thus providing the perfect complement to the quality restoration work undertaken on El Topo and The Holy Mountain in the States by Abkco, and ensuring that the presentation of Fando y Lis is a significant improvement over the Fantoma DVD edition.

Prior to the availability of these legitimate releases, only inferior quality, optically censored, bootleg copies of both El Topo and The Holy Mountain have been circulated on the Internet and on DVD. In the s and early s, Jodorowsky attempted to make a sequel to El Topo , called at different times The Sons of El Topo and Abel Cain , but could not find investors for the project. In an interview with Premiere Magazine , Jodorowsky said he intended his next project to be a gangster film called King Shot.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper in November , however, Jodorowsky revealed that he was unable to find the funds to make King Shot , and instead would be entering preparations on Sons of El Topo , for which he claimed to have signed a contract with "some Russian producers".

In August , Alejandro arrived in a town in Chile where he grew up, also the setting of his autobiography The Dance of Reality , to promote an autobiographical film based upon his book.

He attended, and spoke about his work and life. Alejandro has stated that after he is finished filming The Dance of Reality he will shoot his long-gestating El Topo sequel, Abel Cain. Alejandro's son and co-star in the film, Brontis, claims the film will be finished by March , stating that the film is "very different than the other films he made".

His Paris-based production company, Satori Films, launched two successful crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo to help finance the film. The Indiegogo campaign has been left open indefinitely, receiving donations from fans and movie-goers in support of the independent production. Jodorowsky is married to Pascale Montandon. He has four sons: Brontis Jodorowsky , who's an actor he worked with his father in El Topo and The Dance of Reality ; Teo; Cristobal, who's a psychoshaman and also an actor he was in Santa Sangre and the main character in the psychomagic documentary Quantum Men ; and Adan Jodorowsky , the youngest, who's a musician known by his stage name of Adanowsky.

He also has a daughter, Eugenia. On his religious views, Jodorowsky called himself an "atheist mystic". Jodorowsky spent almost a decade reconstructing the original form of the Tarot de Marseille.

Psychomagic aims to heal psychological wounds suffered in life. This therapy is based on the belief that the performance of certain acts can directly act upon the unconscious mind, releasing it from a series of traumas, some of which practitioners of the therapy believe are passed down from generation to generation. Psychogenealogy includes the studying of the patient's personality and family tree in order to best address their specific sources. It is similar, in its phenomenological approach to genealogy, to the Constellations pioneered by Bert Hellinger.

Jodorowsky has several books on his therapeutic methods, including Psicomagia: La trampa sagrada Psychomagic: The Sacred Trap and his autobiography, La danza de la realidad The Dance of Reality , which he was filming as a feature-length film in March To date he has published more than 23 novels and philosophical treatises, along with dozens of articles and interviews. His books are widely read in Spanish and French, but are for the most part unknown to English-speaking audiences.

Throughout his career, Jodorowsky has gained a reputation as a philosopher and scholar who presents the teachings of religion, psychology , and spiritual masters, by molding them into imaginative endeavors. All of his enterprises integrate an artistic approach. Currently, Jodorowsky dedicates much of his time to lecturing about his work. In these conferences, Jodorowsky would pave the way to building a strong base of students of his philosophy, which deals with understanding the unconscious as the "over-self", composed of many generations of family relatives, living or deceased, acting on the psyche , well into adult lives, and causing compulsions.

Of all his work, Jodorowsky considers these activities to be the most important of his life. Since these talks have dwindled to once a month and take place at the " Librairie Les Cent Ciels " in Paris. Jodorowsky started his comic career in Mexico with the creation of Anibal 5 series in mid with illustrations by Manuel Moro.


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