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 Jewish immigrants from Yekaterinoslav now Dnipro , Elisavetgrad now Kropyvnytskyi and other cities of the Russian Empire now Ukraine.
His father, Jaime Jodorowsky Groismann, was a merchant,  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 at the age of nine years old, something for which he blamed his father.
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. 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 ,  loosely based on a play written by Fernando Arrabal , who was working with Jodorowsky on performance art at the time.
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 ,  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.
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.
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. 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.
The music would be composed by Pink Floyd and Magma. 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 In , Jodorowsky divorced his wife. The film received limited theatrical distribution, putting Jodorowsky back on the cultural map despite its mixed critical reviews. 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.
He followed in with a very different film, The Rainbow Thief. That same year , Jodorowsky and his family returned to France to live. Upon arriving in Mexico City, he gave a lecture at the Julio Castillo Theatre where he once again 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.
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 did 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. In , Jodorowsky began a new film entitled Endless Poetry , the sequel to his last "auto-biopic", The Dance of Reality. His Paris-based production company, Satori Films, launched two successful crowdfunding campaigns to finance the film. The Indiegogo campaign has been left open indefinitely, receiving donations from fans and movie-goers in support of the independent production.
During an interview at the Cannes Film Festival in , Jodorowsky announced his plans to finally make The Son of El Topo as soon as financial backing is obtained. Jodorowsky started his comic career in Mexico with the creation of Anibal 5 series in mid with illustrations by Manuel Moro. He also wrote original stories for at least two or three other comic books in Mexico during those days: Los insoportables Borbolla was one of them. This graphic novel has its roots deep in the tarot and its symbols, e.
The Incal which would branch off into a prequel and sequel forms the first in a sequence of several science fiction comic book series, all set in the same space opera Jodoverse or "Metabarons Universe" published by Humanoids Publishing. In a interview with the Danish comic book magazine Strip! Stephen R. Jodorowsky collaborated with Milo Manara in Borgia , a graphic novel about the history of the House of Borgia.
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.
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. 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.
It was then released on streaming services on 1 August He is currently married to the artist and costume designer Pascale Montandon. The fashion model Alma Jodorowsky is the granddaughter of Alejandro. On his religious views, Jodorowsky has called himself an "atheist mystic". He does not drink or smoke,  and has stated that he does not eat red meat or poultry because he "does not like corpses", basing his diet on vegetables, fruits, grains and occasionally marine products.
Jodorowsky was interviewed by Daniel Pinchbeck for the Franco-German television show Durch die Nacht mit … on the TV station Arte , in a very personal discussion, spending a night together in France, continuing the interview in different locations such as a park and a hotel.
When I wanted to do the rape scene, I explained to [Mara Lorenzio] that I was going to hit her and rape her. We had never talked to each other. I knew nothing about her.
We went to the desert with two other people: the photographer and a technician. No one else. There will be only one take because it will be impossible to repeat. Roll the cameras only when I signal you to. Hit me. I ached for a week. Roll the cameras. I really I really raped her. And she screamed Then she told me that she had been raped before. You see, for me the character is frigid until El Topo rapes her. And she has an orgasm. She has an orgasm.
She accepts the male sex. She really had that problem. Fantastic scene. A very, very strong scene. When you make a picture, you must not respect the novel. You need to open the costume and to rape the bride — and then you will have your picture. I was raping Frank Herbert As a result of these alleged statements, Jodorowsky has been criticised. On 26 June , Jodorowsky released a statement  on his Facebook account in response to the question: "Did you rape an actress during the filming of El Topo?
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 ? I produced El Topo independently. No Mexican film has ever crossed the cactus wall. 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 hate cats. 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!
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.
Jodorowsky also offered details in that same statement on the filming of the so-called "rape scene", proclaiming that it would be impossible to commit such a crime on a large movie set:.
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. When I wanted to do the rape scene, I explained to [Mara Lorenzio] that I was going to hit her and rape her. We had never talked to each other. I knew nothing about her. We went to the desert with two other people: the photographer and a technician.
No one else. There will be only one take because it will be impossible to repeat. Roll the cameras only when I signal you to [ I really I really raped her. And she screamed. He went on to state, "Then she told me that she had been raped before.
You see, for me the character is frigid until El Topo rapes her. And she has an orgasm. She has an orgasm. She accepts the male sex. She really had that problem. Fantastic scene. A very, very strong scene. In , Jodorowsky addressed his earlier comments, clarifying that it was part of a publicity stunt: "They were words, not facts, Surrealist publicity in order to enter the world of cinema from a position of obscurity [ Its consensus reads, "By turns intoxicating and confounding, El Topo contains the creative multitudes that made writer-director Alejandro Jodorowsky such a singular talent.
Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune commented on how the visuals were perceived within the framework of drug culture. For others, it is enough to make one yawn. Other critics, however, remain more enthusiastic about the film.
Peter Schjeldahl , writing for The New York Times , described the film as "a very strange masterpiece". He says, "On first blush it might seem no more than a violent surreal fantasy, a work of fabulous but probably deranged imagination.
Surreal and crazy it may be, but it is also one realizes the second time through as fully considered and ordered as fine clockwork. There was no original intention to show El Topo in Mexico , where it was filmed and produced.
On a failing attempt to purchase the American rights to the film, Barenholtz convinced the producer to have the film shown at midnight at The Elgin. It has been argued [ where? For many years the film could only be seen at midnight screenings in arthouses and via partially censored Japanese laserdiscs and bootleg videos.
Its official DVD release was on 1 May Its first Blu-ray release was on 26 April Since at least the early s, Jodorowsky has been attempting to make a sequel to El Topo.
In , a teaser poster was released,  but, apparently, no shooting was actually done. A article in The Guardian stated that Marilyn Manson was attached to star in the film, but that Jodorowsky was having great difficulty raising money for the project. In the sequel was released in comic book form under the name Sons of El Topo. El Topo. Please expand the article to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page. September Theatrical release poster. Release date.
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