Cult filmmaker, surrealist, musician, poet, playwright, and spiritual guru are just a few of the roles of the undefinable Alejandro Jodorowsky. Born in 1929 in Chile to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, Jodorowsky’s career in theatre began at an early age and he later enrolled at the University of Chile, where he developed an interest in puppetry and mime and created his own theatre company. He worked in mainstream theatre (directing Maurice Chevalier) and offbeat productions, developing his interest in the avant-garde. Jodorowsky’s work with artist Roland Topor, Theater of Cruelty Champion Antonin Artaud and playwright Fernando Arrabal led to the formation of the “Panic Movement,” which by the mid-‘60s was staging full-fledged “happenings” – theatrical events designed to shock and provoke.
“You can’t have a masterpiece without madness.” – Alejandro Jodorowsky
In 1967, Jodorowsky directed his first feature, Fando y Lis, in Mexico. The film prompted a riot when it debuted at the 1968 Acapulco Film Festival. His next film, the cult classic EI Topo, opened in 1971 at the Elgin Theatre in New York, where it kick-started the Midnight Movie phenomenon and ignited Jodorowsky’s career. Subsequent films include the psychedelic masterpiece, The Holy Mountain (1973), the flamboyant horror thriller, Santa Sangre (1989), and The Rainbow Thief (1990) starring Omar Sharif, Christopher Lee and Peter O’Toole. His legendary failed attempt to film Frank Herbert’s novel Dune was the subject of the critically acclaimed 2013 documentary, Jodorowsky’s Dune. A true Renaissance man, Jodorowsky developed a successful career as a graphic novelist, collaborating with famous illustrators such as Moebius and Juan Gimenez. Based on his extensive knowledge of the Tarot, he has also developed his own mixture of psychotherapy and shamanism that he calls “Psychomagic.” In 2011, 22 years after his previous film, Jodorowsky returned to his hometown, Tocopilla, a coastal village on edge of the Chilean desert, to shoot The Dance of Reality, a film based on his autobiography. His latest film, Endless Poetry, continues his life story. This Fall, The Loft Cinema is proud to present a sampling of the endlessly-fascinating Alejandro Jodorowsky’s magical, mystical, must-see work on the big screen.