Alejandro Jodorowsky

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#26 Post by Fletch F. Fletch » Mon May 02, 2005 3:06 pm

A nice interview with Jod circa 2000. Here is an excerpt:

"Comics are a fanstastic art, but in you in America all you know is Superman, Spiderman, superheroes. Its very pow pow it's very, very limited for you. In Europe comics are an art. And you have prize, the minister come, the president reads comics. It�s an art, with a lot of respect, all the time."

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#27 Post by Anonymous » Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:51 am

What about these ? Are they worth ordering ?

El Topo

The Holy Mountain

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#28 Post by In Heaven » Mon Aug 01, 2005 11:47 am

Not unless you like optical censoring.

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#29 Post by solaris72 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:27 pm

gorezone wrote:** SON OF EL TOPO: While talking to the living legend David Hess at Chiller, I found out that in a few weeks he will be acting alongside Marylin Manson and Nick Nolte in the Alexandro Jodorowsky 's sequel to his classic movie.
link

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#30 Post by Cobalt60 » Fri Jul 07, 2006 3:15 pm

So Abelcain is no longer on IMBD, King Shot is not on IMBD and Tryptych has practially no info. Now, granted IMBD's info can be a little ify, but does anyone know whats up with Jodorowsky ever making another film? (I'll reserve the El Topo/Holy Mountain DVD frustration for the thread of the same name in the Rumors section)

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#31 Post by miless » Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:24 pm

I just rented the Fantoma release of Fando & Lis and I just watched the documentary on Jodorowsky... and all I have to say is: "what the hell?"
that was one of the worst documentaries I've ever seen... I mean the first part was kind of interesting, but then it just devolves into some weird (seemingly non-related) stuff about the filmmaker (who doesn't seem to have much of a talent for making documentaries)
huh... I hope that better docs are made for the upcoming releases of El Topo and Holy Mountain

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#32 Post by Rich Malloy » Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:29 am

I couldn't possibly disagree more about "Le Constellation Jodorowsky".

I believe Fantoma's "Fando" release was the first time the complete, non-truncated version of "Le Constellation Jodorowsky" was made available on DVD, and although I don't know the man, I honestly wonder if a better documentary on his life is possible. This one strikes me as almost ideal, essential viewing even.

"Le Constellation" is a thorough chronology of Jodorowsky's theater career, including his education as a mime and exploits on behalf of the Panique movement, a brilliant exegesis on his films, both successful and not, (including a good bit on the aborted "Dune" project), and an in-depth philosophical and psychological study of the totality of the man's life and views, including the bizarre and illuminating late-era "Psycho-Magic" seminars that seem a bit like a mediated Panic happening. I consider this to be not merely an important film on Jodorowsky, but an essential one.

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#33 Post by miless » Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:04 pm

I think that it would have been better had they focused more on the artistic side, as I found myself fast-forwarding through the last half of the documentary... I would have also liked to see more interviews with relevant people, as the interview with Peter Gabriel was interesting they never really said why he was interviewed (other than the fact that he knew Jodorowsky and was a fan of El Topo)

I was just put off by this documentary

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#34 Post by soma » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:20 am

I'm off to ACMI tonight to see my first Jodorowsky experience - El Topo. Am I correct in saying that Criterion plan to release this?

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#35 Post by tavernier » Sat Sep 09, 2006 4:48 pm

From ABKCO Films press release:
Controversial Chilean-born cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky will attend the 44th New York Film Festival to present two of his most famous films, El Topo and The Holy Mountain in the Special Events section of the festival. The films, originally made in the 1970's in Mexico, have been fully restored and remastered under close supervision by Jodorowsky, and are being premiered at the Festival in advance of their release on DVD early next year.

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#36 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:02 am

The Guardian interviews Jodorowsky.

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#37 Post by toiletduck! » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:26 am

Of course there's a dedicated Jodorowsky thread...

These are transferred over from the Anchor Bay DVD thread where I, in complete tool fashion, originally posted them. Hopefully they spark a little more discussion over here.

Regarding El Topo:
I wrote:Holy hell, I've just seen a cinematic masterwork.

The word that kept coming back to me was 'pure'. Every image, movement, sound, etc. seems so precise, so exact, that I have to believe we have a direct port of Jodorowsky's mental images -- even more amazing considering he's in front of the camera for almost the entire film.
vogler wrote:Those seeking perfect intellectually considered symbolism will likely be disappointed, but those who want to see breathtaking imagery and the unbridled and pure creativity of one mans wild imagination and psyche will be amazed. Actually I think Jodorowsky is in many ways very close to the spirit of true surrealism.

It was really interesting to go back and read your comments again, vogler. I went in expecting this sort of surrealism, and I have to say that I disagree. I found El Topo to be extremely allegorical and containing very little surrealism (purely speaking, of course). I haven't sat down to sort out exactly what I feel fits where in the 'meaning' of everything, but I'm certainly looking forward to doing so.

Which is another oddity: I fell in love with the film for the same reason that you feel many are disappointed. While I wouldn't say perfect (there are extra flourishes here and there), intellectually considered symbolism is very much what I saw tonight, but filtered through the breathtaking imagery and pure -- that word again -- creativity. Despite being so consistently unique, there was nothing in El Topo that didn't seem to make perfect sense where it was. There are bits and pieces that still seem like they shouldn't make sense, but my subconscious is going along with it, so I'm playing game and waiting for the reasoning to bubble up to the surface. This must be what people are feeling when they tell me they understand Mulholland Drive...

My lord, I've been on a streak! The last three days have introduced me to El Topo, 2 Or 3 Things I Know About Her, Mr. Arkadin, and McLaren's Ballet Adagio. My jaw was on the floor each and every time. I don't know if I can handle any more quality this month -- it's a good thing that Dreamgirls is on tomorrow's menu.

*bites tongue and starts mantra*

I will go in with an open mind. I will go in with an open mind. I will go in with an open mind...
Regarding Holy Mountain:
I wrote:Quick Holy Mountain response: Just as visionary as El Topo, but this seemed to come from a place more sinister/cynical in Jodorowsky. Turns out I'm not as up on my mysticism as I thought I was and struggled (in a good way) to cling on during the Planets section. The New Age-y second half grew more than a little tiresome (except the Pantheon Bar), but then the brilliant payoff turned everything on its head. While I think I prefer El Topo for its stronger narrative (!!!), a second viewing is essential before any opinions about HM can be said with any degree of certainty.

Either way, the box set is a must have, and I'm looking forward immensely to Fando, to see just how many synapses can be fried by Jodorowsky and Arrabal combined.
-Toilet Dcuk

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#38 Post by lord_clyde » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:43 pm

Found the boxset at fye and I kind of stared at it for a long time, trying to process. Jodorowsky? Isn't he that legendary filmmaker whose films have only been available on bootleg for decades? Is this really here? I turned over the box and inspected everything carefully, but as soon as I read 'High Definition transfer and digital restoration in co-operation with and approved by Mr. Jodorowsky" I immediately paid for it and took it home to watch the legendary El Topo I have heard so much for. . . ever really.
First of all, I was greatly relieved when I saw the quality of the picture. The film looks remarkable, which I guess isn't saying much since I never saw one of the many bootlegs circulating.
The next 124 minutes did just what Tenacious D promised to do with their music: It turned my brain to shit.
So soon after analyzing INLAND EMPIRE I couldn't have imagined a film would affect me more so soon. As bizarre a mind fuck as it is, I was pleased that I could still enjoy the film on a narrative level.
The images from this film will stay with me forever, from the eerie rabbit farm to the violent conclusion.
I probably have no idea what I saw, but I like it. A lot. Now to go to work and watch Holy Mountain.

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#39 Post by Michael » Mon May 07, 2007 3:20 pm

I wrote:
I will probably get beat up. But what's the big fuss about El Topo? I saw it for the first time yesterday and I grew bored quickly, wanting to press the "eject" button but I sat through the whole thing. Jodorowsky worked very hard putting his personal imagery on film - oceans of red paint, litters of dead bunnies, etc - however the film suffered greatly from the lack of lyricism or rhythym that it seemed to cry for (think Pink Narcissus, just about every Bava film, or Mulholland Dr.). I thought I'd like it but I didn't unfortunately
toiletduck! wrote:
Having (as of yet) not seen Pink Narcissus, or any negligible amount of Bava, could you expand upon why you were disappointed with El Topo (perhaps in the Jodorowsky thread in the Old Films board)? The film immediately vaulted into my top five (no surprise, I suppose, knowing me) and is, to my eyes, damn near perfectly realized.

But I would love to discuss.
Jodorowsky's imagery was breathtaking but at times I wished he caressed it a bit more - giving it it a rythym or beat, making one image flows into the next. Gorgeous to look at but felt very flat. Or maybe I was just not in the right frame of mind but I'm holding on to the disc for another viewing later this week. El Topo is a chockful of religious references/allegories but I must admit that my knowledge in anything religious is pretty extra lean. So I wonder if that has to do with my probably misguided boredom with the film. However, I enjoyed this one scene - sexy old women molesting their slave. That was funny and I had to go back and watched that scene three times.
Last edited by Michael on Tue May 08, 2007 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#40 Post by Michael » Mon May 07, 2007 4:12 pm

sevenarts wrote:
I felt similarly to Michael about El Topo, actually. I wouldn't say I was ever quite bored, but it certainly wasn't the revelatory experience I was expecting from my knowledge of Jodorowsky's comics and the rep of this film. Lots of great imagery in isolation, but I just didn't think it came together as a whole. It reminded me of some sort of Monty Pythonesque sketch show, except with rather more gruesome images. The final sequence in the frontier town rather redeemed the more sluggish rest of the film, though -- that segment of the film held together beautifully and wound up being very powerful. But this is, after all, just a subsection of the film as a whole.

On the other hand, I watched The Holy Mountain the next night, and found that it was everything I was expecting from Jodorowsky, and was utterly blown away by it. Maybe it's just that the tarot and the mystical ideas he was communicating here have an inherent structure that held things together more solidly, but in this case, the film definitely added up to so much more than the semi-random procession of bizarre images that is El Topo.
Based on the reputation of El Topo, I thought I was going get blown away by the film's freshness. The first half was like Once Upon a Time in the West on acid. Even one of the women looked strikingly like Claudia Cardinale. It's just that the film didn't congeal or spark as much as I'd like. Speaking of cinematic freshness, look at Gun Crazy - a film that is more than 55 years old. With its contagious energy that never quits being fresh. A film like that blows my head off.

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#41 Post by Lino » Mon May 07, 2007 4:30 pm

Watching El Topo with the commentary on made me love the movie even more. I suggest everyone do it.

I'm a deeply spiritual person (but not a very religious one) and Jodorowsky's movies hit all the right notes with me. I've become a fan for life after going through all the Anchor Bay set last week.

Also, El Topo is a kind of autobiographical movie so it is a selfish and self-centered one too. Maybe that's why one can't readily identify with it with the intesity one does with Holy Mountain, which was consciously made to "change the world", in his own words.

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#42 Post by Tommaso » Mon May 07, 2007 4:35 pm

Okay, Toilet Dcuk suggested (well, in a way) to discuss the films and their content here, and I agree. Better keep that Anchor Bay thread to discussion of the discs. So I re-post what I said there here:
sevenarts wrote:On the other hand, I watched The Holy Mountain the next night, and found that it was everything I was expecting from Jodorowsky, and was utterly blown away by it. Maybe it's just that the tarot and the mystical ideas he was communicating here have an inherent structure that held things together more solidly, but in this case, the film definitely added up to so much more than the semi-random procession of bizarre images that is El Topo.
I must say that I also think "Holy Mountain" is the (even) better film, but I don't think "El Topo" lacks that inherent structure you're missing. I haven't listened to the commentary yet, nor did I find the time to read the script with Jodo's annotations in the link that Vogler posted above, but - to offer a somewhat vague idea - I have the feeling that the film more or less closely follows the story of the bible, mostly the New Testament with the Topo being a sort of 'dark' Christlike character (and thus represents a religion of 'law') who undergoes a not so Christian initiation, i.e. the confrontation with the results and final overcoming/integration of his 'dark aspects' (thus breaking the 'law' and finally creating his true individualitiy). Thus he can be 'reborn' in proper Buddhist monk fashion (at least that's how he looks). In that respect, a 'mystical' or 'spiritual' film as opposed to a 'religious' film. One might be appalled by the masses of blood, of course, but the film is not indulging in violence for its own sake (and it's so overdone that it is becoming almost funny, similar to "Kill Bill" perhaps), but in my view shows how organized/dogmatic religion (see the last third of the film) leads to violence or builds on the inherent violence in all people, and how all attempts to do 'public' spiritual good lead only to the destruction of those who attempt to do it. And of course, history repeats itself, with his son becoming the new Topo in the end. Did Jodorowsky get the idea for the Topo's self-incineration from similar acts of Vietnamese or Tibetan monks at the time, who used it as a kind of political fanal?

Even if the above should make sense (and I'm keen to hear other interpretations), it would still be a very dry matter if it wasn't for the really astonishing images, which are so unique that even if you don't care about any spiritual content, I'd still agree with Toilet Dcuk: it's close to perfection, although I wouldn't say it's in my top five. But I truly admire it, though - as said before - not quite as much as "Holy Mountain"...

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#43 Post by toiletduck! » Mon May 07, 2007 5:07 pm

In response mainly to sevenarts:

I may be one of the few that actually prefers El Topo to Holy Mountain, and oddly enough, I think a lot has to do with the structure. I find El Topo to be very structured -- almost rigidly so in points. I need to view it again before I really start digging deep into symbolism, but each of the four gunman seem a further step downward (or upward, through El Topo's eyes). They obviously don't correspond to levels of hell, but the sort of imagery raised in my mind falls along a similar line. Thus, when El Topo realizes the grave error in his ways and retraces his steps in sudden horror, it is too late. The floor has dropped out and the multi-layered build (or collapse) has been reduced to one large pit.

At which point the obvious structural break arrives, El Topo awakening at the bottom of a cave (or pit, effectively) and climbing his way out. Yet in the second half the roles have been reversed. The world above is now that of corruption and debauchery and in bringing the bottom of the pit to the surface, El Topo is once more unwittingly delivering innocence and nobility directly into the hands of the debased. The only positive outcome is a further descendant in the line of El Topo, born of the innocent and the foolish. But even this is bittersweet, as we can only expect the cycle to continue, the Topo line forever leaving a trail of death in the wake of their 'good deeds.' A Christ parable? Very easily read that way, but my, what a cynical one.

But back to the structure, I don't think that Jodorowsky has much interest in lyricism, Michael (at least as I understand your use of it). Without meaning to discount the style, I think a strong sense of lyricism would make the film and its imagery a little easier to digest, and that's certainly not the game the Panic Movement was playing. El Topo (and Holy Mountain, which I still recommend, but get the feeling might not be your bag, either) certainly allows itself to be driven by the structure (or 'sketches', which while I disagree, is certainly a reaction I can understand -- and even moreso in HM's Planets section), but to me it is that jerkiness that keeps you engaged in the horror of the situations rather than simply being subdued by the wealth of imagination.

Holy Mountain, on the other hand -- and in an odd contrast to sevenarts -- strikes me as the one that struggles from some structural issues. The structure of the Planets/Tarot section is very strong and holds together as a subsection quite well, but then devolves into the extended New Age training sequence, which quickly becomes wearisome -- a feeling I think is only exacerbated by the fact that it follows such a precise section of the film. Granted, once the payoff hits at the end, I understand the need for the extensive, tiresome training (and I credit Jodorowsky immensely for understanding this and for allowing/encouraging his audience (and apparently cast?) to suffer along in order to truly realize the lesson at hand), and this does in one sense entirely excuse it, but in another sense, it's still a pain to get through. Not that I love it any less for forcing me to deal with that. I just love it a little less than El Topo.

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#44 Post by Tommaso » Tue May 08, 2007 7:51 am

Great interpretation, Dcuk, which I find totally sound, but perhaps not exclusive to other interpretations. What made me think of Christ of course is the way how the Topo is getting the stigmata on hands and feet just before his 'burial', and the fact that he rests in that mountain pit obviously for a longer time (the dwarf woman wasn't born at the time he was buried there). The last part of the film would then correspond to the forming of the Christian Church led by the 'spirit' of the Christ/Topo, and remember that the last part of the film is headed 'apocalypse', i.e. the last book of the bible. Comparing the Topo to a Jesus figure doesn't appear cynical to me as long as you don't confuse the spiritual message with the organized dogma the Church(es) made of it. In this respect telling is when his son, the 'young Topo', tears down the big sheet with that triangle-eye-symbol in the church: behind it appears the symbol of the cross, and I read that scene as suggesting a kind of identity between the organized Church as we know it and that tyrannic religion/society we encounter in the village.
toiletduck! wrote:But back to the structure, I don't think that Jodorowsky has much interest in lyricism, Michael (at least as I understand your use of it). Without meaning to discount the style, I think a strong sense of lyricism would make the film and its imagery a little easier to digest, and that's certainly not the game the Panic Movement was playing.
Curiously, I find all his films quite 'lyrical' in the way he allows his camera to rest on scenes, to let us 'take in' the landscape and the characters. Of course it depends on how you define the term, but none of his films are 'fast-going' and rely a lot on the contemplation of images and atmosphere. It's not so obvious in "El Topo" as it is in "Santa Sangre", but I think it's still there. Perhaps that's the reason why I, unlike you, don't find that 'new age training' sequence in "Holy Mountain" tiresome. It provides us with that lyrical halt and gives us time not just to take a breath, but also to contemplate what we have seen before, or at least to let the images 'sink in'.

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#45 Post by Michael » Tue May 08, 2007 8:32 am

Curiously, I find all his films quite 'lyrical' in the way he allows his camera to rest on scenes, to let us 'take in' the landscape and the characters. Of course it depends on how you define the term, but none of his films are 'fast-going' and rely a lot on the contemplation of images and atmosphere. It's not so obvious in "El Topo" as it is in "Santa Sangre",
Now Santa Sangre is perfectly "lyrical"...Jodorowsky perfected that with this best film of his. It's very difficult to define what I mean by that word. I sort of expect films heavy with surreal imagery to be "lyrical" - like Fellini, Roeg, Bava, Lynch and so forth but I find El Topo's imagery drip too dry too quickly without getting to the heart of it and not as moving and rich as Santa Sangre's. But toiletduck!'s passionate writing of El Topo convinces me not to give up and to give it another chance.

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#46 Post by mezcla » Tue May 08, 2007 11:38 am

Great interpretation, Dcuk, which I find totally sound
Agreed. You too, Tommaso. I just wanted to chime in and say that while we're talking about El Topo and Biblical symbolism that the first half of the film seems to put El Topo in the position of "vengeful god" not unlike the god of the Old Testament. After he is betrayed and buried he reflects a more "Christlike" demeanor especially in relationship to the crippled and afflicted people of the cave.

Of course there is so much going on here that this comparison paints a very broad picture but I thought it was worth pointing out. The Dcuk's point about the 4 Master Gunmen of the desert is spot-on. The descension of El Topo into the pit is further reinforced by the progression of each Gunman's "house", if you will- Bricks, Sticks, Straw, and finally nothing. I am going to give this another viewing tonight and maybe add more to this.

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#47 Post by toiletduck! » Tue May 08, 2007 3:45 pm

Tommaso, I didn't mean to imply that your reading was at all cynical, my apologies if it sounded as such. I, too, buy into the Christ allegory through much of the film. I simply see it as a cynical point of view from Jodorowsky's perspective -- the fact that Christ, while acting out of good intentions, is not only utterly ineffective (and in fact, counterproductive), but he is also blind to that fact all the way until the dust is settled and the damage done. But you are correct, if taken to be read as the human application of Christianity as opposed to the originator himself, it is a very different tone.

Regarding 'lyricism': This seems to be another of those terms that is proving to be all too elusive. I have yet to see Santa Sangre, but I was primarily taking my idea of the term, from the mention of Mulholland Drive, as an allusion to a particular smoothness that betrays the images in order to disorient the viewer and to make the moments that are particularly aggressive towards the audience that much more effective. I would agree that Jodorowsky allows (and encourages) us to take in the events and the imagery, but I would also contend that he wants the viewer sharp and at full attention and even a bit in confrontation with the film at all times. If any of that makes sense slash is convincing.
mezcla wrote:Of course there is so much going on here that this comparison paints a very broad picture but I thought it was worth pointing out.
Absolutely so! That might be the best part of Jodorowsky's work -- there is so, so much potential meaning packed into each frame that the possible readings are endless, making for marvelous discussion and a consistently fresh viewing experience. The Old/New Testament reading is extremely fitting, and at the same time the first half also very much put in mind Satan's temptation of Christ in the desert, had he succumbed; a sort of alternative history in which the outcome remains the same (crucifixion, resurrection, etc.)

I, too, need to watch these again to get a better handle on what I'm babbling about (this is all emerging from one viewing), but I have the feeling I will be sinking my teeth into these films for a long time to come without hitting bottom.

-Toilet Dcuk

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#48 Post by Tommaso » Wed May 09, 2007 3:54 am

Great point, Mezcla, about the vengeful Old Testament God! This makes sense, although he gets the Christ's stigmata before being buried in that mountain, so the transformation to the New Testament must have taken place somewhat earlier than you suggest (always assuming Jodorowsky follows the biblical timeline in a linear fashion, which need not be the case).
toiletduck! wrote:. I simply see it as a cynical point of view from Jodorowsky's perspective -- the fact that Christ, while acting out of good intentions, is not only utterly ineffective (and in fact, counterproductive), but he is also blind to that fact all the way until the dust is settled and the damage done. But you are correct, if taken to be read as the human application of Christianity as opposed to the originator himself, it is a very different tone.
That's exactly what I meant. It's not cynical, it just portrays the reality of history in the last 2000 years... I'm also intrigued by your reading of the first half as representing Satan's temptation in the desert. That came into my mind as well, though for some reason I discarded the idea later on. But it seems to me now that Jodorowsky perhaps takes certain key elements or scenes from the Bible and assembles them in a new way, and thus creates new contexts inside the biblical story itself. I think it's in the short interview on the disc that he says that the film is about ALL religions, furthermore. Well, I'm not sure whether I can sort all this out any time soon...
toiletduck! wrote: I would agree that Jodorowsky allows (and encourages) us to take in the events and the imagery, but I would also contend that he wants the viewer sharp and at full attention and even a bit in confrontation with the film at all times. If any of that makes sense slash is convincing.
Convinces me very much. Think of reading poetry (i.e 'lyricism' per se): you have to engage with the words, with sounds and rhymes and so on, it's never a passive thing, but an active sort of 'contemplation'. Actually, contemplation in that sense might be a keyword for all Jodorowsky's films: he's circling around some thoughts/imagery all the time, he wants us to engage with very abstract or philosophical/mystical topics, but he doesn't set them out in a straightforward, but in a symbolic/allegorical way. Basically that mirrors the difference between writing an essay and writing poetry.
toiletduck! wrote: I have the feeling I will be sinking my teeth into these films for a long time to come without hitting bottom.
Precisely. I only hope that Jodo's audio commentary might be helpful. It was extremely so in the case of "Fando y Lis". But I too think these are films that you can discover anew again and again with every viewing. Formerly, I was often doubtful about Jodorowsky's merits, being appalled by the over-goryness of his films (especially "El Topo", whereas "Holy Mountain" and "Santa Sangre" always 'clicked' more easily for me), but the more I think about them and now having the chance to see them in a great edition whenever I want, I guess the man might become one of my very favourite filmmakers rather sooner than later...

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#49 Post by margot » Sun May 13, 2007 9:32 pm

I've seen El Topo and I found it interesting, but it has the most annoying sounds ever recorded in a film.

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#50 Post by patrick » Thu May 24, 2007 8:22 pm

There's a terrific (if brief) interview with Jodorowsky in the new Rue Morgue, and those interested in what he's doing next would do well to pick it up. There's a concept sketch of a King Shot sketch (a giant Jesus head in the desert surrounded by news vans) and evidently Marilyn Manson and Nick Nolte are signed on. Now he's got to find a backer who will give him complete control.

Interestingly enough, he's apparently been hanging out with Del Toro, so maybe this will come out through his new Cha Cha Cha wing of Universal. He also mentioned hanging out with Park Chan-wook and how he wouldn't mind shooting in Korea.

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