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Alexandro Jodorowsky

Alexandro Jodorowsky

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Also Known As: Alexandro Jodorowsky, Alexandre Jodorowsky Died:
Born: February 17, 1929 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Tocopilla, , CL Profession: director, actor, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This eccentric, outspoken Chilean-born director, writer and actor is best-known for two avant-garde cult films, "El Topo" (1970) and "The Holy Mountain" (1973). Jodorowsky, born to Russian immigrants, grew up in a tough Chilean port city. His family moved to Santiago, and Jodorowsky formed a circus troupe and moved to Paris in 1955 to study mime with Marcel Marceau. By 1960, he was writing and directing for the theater, traveling between Mexico and Paris. He co-founded the surrealist review "S.NOB" and, with playwright Fernando Arrabal and artist Roland Topor, formed the theater of the absurd company (heavily influenced by Antonin Artaud) Producciones Panicas. Their first major play was the scandalous four-hour, multi-media "Sacramental Melodrama," staged at the Paris Festival of Free Expression in 1965. Eventually giving up on theater, Jodorowsky returned to Mexico, where he wrote books and comics and experimented with film. His first was "Fando and Lis" (1968), a Fellini-esque love story which was promptly banned after provoking riots.Jodorowsky then wrote, directed, scored and acted in the film which brought him more fame and notoriety, "El Topo/The Mole" (1970). A meandering, violent and highly...

This eccentric, outspoken Chilean-born director, writer and actor is best-known for two avant-garde cult films, "El Topo" (1970) and "The Holy Mountain" (1973). Jodorowsky, born to Russian immigrants, grew up in a tough Chilean port city. His family moved to Santiago, and Jodorowsky formed a circus troupe and moved to Paris in 1955 to study mime with Marcel Marceau. By 1960, he was writing and directing for the theater, traveling between Mexico and Paris. He co-founded the surrealist review "S.NOB" and, with playwright Fernando Arrabal and artist Roland Topor, formed the theater of the absurd company (heavily influenced by Antonin Artaud) Producciones Panicas. Their first major play was the scandalous four-hour, multi-media "Sacramental Melodrama," staged at the Paris Festival of Free Expression in 1965. Eventually giving up on theater, Jodorowsky returned to Mexico, where he wrote books and comics and experimented with film. His first was "Fando and Lis" (1968), a Fellini-esque love story which was promptly banned after provoking riots.

Jodorowsky then wrote, directed, scored and acted in the film which brought him more fame and notoriety, "El Topo/The Mole" (1970). A meandering, violent and highly impressionistic film, "El Topo" follows the travels of the eponymous hero (Jodorowsky) and his son (Jodorowsky's own seven-year-old son Brontis) as they encounter bandits, massacres, hippies and lesbians, in search of knowledge and/or redemption. A weird combination of the styles of Bunuel, Fellini, Antonioni and Russ Meyer, "El Topo" found its audience through New York's Elgin Theater, which screened the film at midnight showings every night for more than a year. Discovered by trendy downtowners, artsy intellectuals and finally by critics, "El Topo" became possibly the first "cult" film.

"The Holy Mountain" (1973), Jodorowsky's next film, was equally bizarre and portentous (many said "pretentious"). Also filmed in Mexico, "The Holy Mountain" told the story of a thief and his Dante-like travels, chock full of eye-popping sex, violence and religious references. Another midnight movie hit, "The Holy Mountain" disappointed critically and a disillusioned Jodorowsky retired to Paris.

His career never really came back to full-throttle. In 1980, Jodorowsky wrote and directed "Tusk," the tale of an elephant hunt, then went underground again until 1989, when he wrote and directed the Italian-made "Santa Sangria/Holy Blood," the story of a young serial killer (played by Jodorowsky's son Axel) redeemed through love. "The Rainbow Thief" (1990) starred Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif, bigger movie than the director normally had the chance to work with. It was his last film for 23 years. After two decades of false starts, Jodorowsky returned to the screen with "The Dance of Reality" (2013), which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival alongside "Jodorowsky's Dune" (2013), a documentary by Frank Pavich about the director's abandoned 1970s attempt to create a transformative film version of Frank Herbert's cult science fiction novel.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
3.
  Rainbow Thief, The (1990) Director
4.
5.
  Tusk (1979)
7.
  El Topo (1970)
8.
  Fando and Lis (1970) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Endless Poetry (2016)
2.
3.
4.
 Nacido Sin (2007)
6.
 Santa Sangre (1989)
7.
8.
 El Topo (1970)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Studied mime with Marcel Marceau in Paris
:
Formed Producciones Panicas with Fernando Arrabal and Roland Topor (Paris) in the early 1960s
1968:
Directed first film, "Fando and Lis"
:
"El Topo" plays at New York's Elgin Theater in midnight showings
1973:
After failure of "The Holy Mountain", dissolves Producciones Panicas and retires
1979:
Returned to film-making with "Tusk"
1990:
Made the feature "The Rainbow Thief"
1997:
Shot the sequel "The Sons of El Topo"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Santiago: -

Notes

Jodorowsky claims that Allen Klein, who owns the rights to "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain", destroyed both films out of spite.

"I consider Ionesco a petty adolescent, nothing more, who is still afraid of death, who is flirting with Zen Buddhism, with neo-Aristotelian semantics, flirting with everything, but stays away from the themes he flirts with." --Alejandro Jodorowsky quoted in Drama Review, winter 1970.

"When I start to make art I was a neurotic. ... For me, now, there is no difference between the picture and the life. Also, for me the most important thing is SHOOTING the picture, not the picture. This is my game now. It's a certain kind of way to open yourself, to progress, to be more near the completely man." --Jodorowsky quoted in a 1973 Penthouse interview

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Valerie Jodorowsky.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Sara Jodorowsky. Died October 24, 1978, in Lima, Peru at the age of 73.
sister:
Raquel Jodorowsky. Writer, poet.
son:
Brontis Jodorowsky. Actor. Born c. 1966.
son:
Adan Jodorowsky. Born c. 1980.
son:
Axel Jodorowsky.
son:
Teo Jodorowsky. Born c. 1970.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"El Topo: A Book of the Film"

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