Alexandro Jodorowsky

Alexandro Jodorowsky

Chilean producer and director

Alexandro Jodorowsky was born in 1929 to Russian Jewish émigrés in the small coastal mining town of Iquique in the deserts of northern Chile. In 1942 he moved to Santiago where he attended university, was a circus clown and a puppeteer. In 1955 he went to Paris and studied mime with Marcel Marceau. He worked with Maurice Chevalier there and made a film, "The Severed Head" or "The Transposed Heads", which is now lost. He also befriended the surrealists Roland Topor and Fernando Arrabal, and in 1962 these three created the "Panic Movement" in homage to the mythical god Pan. As part of this group Jodorowsky wrote several books and theatrical pieces. In the later 1960s he directed avant-garde theater in Paris and Mexico City, created the comic strip "Fabulas Panicas", and made his first "real" film, the surrealist love story _Fando y Lis (1967)_ , based on a play by Arrabal. In 1971, El topo (1970) was released and became a cult classic, as did The Holy Mountain (1973).
 
In 1975 he returned to France to begin work on a film that was never made: a colossal adaptation of Frank Herbert's "Dune", which was to star Orson Welles, Salvador Dali and others, was to be scored by Pink Floyd, and which brought together the visionary talents of H.R. Giger, Dan O'Bannon, and Jean "Moebius" Giraud (Giger and O'Bannon later collaborated on "Alien.") The project's financiers backed out, and "Dune" was eventually filmed by David Lynch. Jodorowsky's next film was 1979's _Tusk (1978)_ , a story of a young girl's friendship with an elephant, which quickly faded into obscurity. In the early 1980s he began working with Moebius and other artists on various comic strips, graphic novels and cartoons, and wrote several more books. He returned to film with 1989's Santa sangre (1989), which was critically acclaimed and widely distributed. In 1990 he directed Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole (I) in the fantasy film The Rainbow Thief (1990).

Throughout the 1990s he continued to produce cartoons with a variety of graphic artists and is reportedly to begin work on another film, the long-awaited "Sons Of El Topo", sometime in 2002 or 2003. Jodorowsky's wife Valerie and sons Brontis, Axel and Adan have all at times appeared in his films. The film is based on "Ascent of Mount Carmel" by St. John of the Cross and "Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing" by Rene Daumal, a student of G.I. Gurdjieff. In particular, much of Jodorowsky's visually psychedelic story follows the metaphysical thrust of "Mount Analogue" such as the climb to the Alchemist, the assembly of individuals with specific skills, the discovery of the mountain that unites Heaven and Earth "that cannot not exist" and symbolic challenges along the mountain ascent. Daumal died before finishing his allegorical novel, and Jodorowsky's improvised ending provides a clever way of completing the Work (symbolic and otherwise.)

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