I can’t remember how I first came to know of Alejandro Jodorowsky, but I know that the first of his films I saw was The Holy Mountain. It left quite a mark – I’d never seen anything like it before. It’s a drug-free trip. I got a tattoo of it on my left forearm, I posted a picture of it last blog. Sometimes people ask my if its my favourite film, but it’s not. It’s up there. Taxi Driver and Rocky are my favourite films, but neither of those quite lend themselves to a tattoo like The Holy Mountain does.
After The Holy Mountain I saw El Topo, the film that made his underground name and launched the midnight movie. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were big fans. They produced The Holy Mountain, and for a long time it was the most expensive movie to come out of Mexico.
It’s difficult to see his films, that’s how cult he is. For the longest time they were locked away in a vault and his producer (after they’d fallen out) swore he would never again allow them to see the light of day. Clearly they worked things out.
Phew a damn interesting guy. I don’t necessarily believe everything he believes but he’s at least used those beliefs to tell some pretty groovy stories and that’s always cool.
My favourite tale is how he almost came to direct Dune. He woke from a dream knowing he needed to adapt the story, though he had never read the book. After going straight to the bookstore he purchased a copy, read it, and acquired the rights. The story he had in mind perhaps wasn’t exactly the Dune that Frank Herbert wrote, but his vision is certainly to be admired. When the film didn’t go through he ended up using a lot of the ideas he had for it in his comic book The Incal, which I guess kind of nicely ties us into yesterday’s post.
Jodorowsky deserves to be viewed and admired by everybody. His is an imagination unfettered by boundaries, and that is something all artists – be they writers, painters, filmmakers, musicians etc – should aim for. The mind has no bars, it is no prison, and it should not be treated like it is. A thing is only as small as you allow it to be, and as big as you want it.
‘Nothing in your experience or education could have prepared you for this film.’