BBC Home

Explore the BBC

31st July 2015
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

features /  film feature
editor content by: editor
alejandro jodorowsky
real player to access audio and video on collective you need real player.
The legendary filmmaker explains himself.

Alejandro Jodorowsky, 78, says, "I feel like I've been born again." The reason for his rejuvenation is that his early films - El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Fando y Lis - are being released on DVD more than 30 years after he directed, wrote, starred, produced and masterminded the production design on them.

It was the surreal Western, El Topo (also getting a limited cinema re-release), that made Jodorowsky an international star when it found an audience at midnight screenings in New York. But it's The Holy Mountain, financed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, which has best stood the test of time. It's about a Jesus-like figure who wanders through a bizarre landscape until he enters a mountain and meets an Alchemist (played by Jodorowsky), who introduces him to seven individuals, each of whom represents a planet. They then all go on a quest to become immortal. Marilyn Manson liked the film so much that he asked Jodorowsky to dress as the Alchemist and conduct the nuptials at his wedding.

What is amazing about Jodorowsky, who was born in Chile before moving to Paris to join a mime school, is that he's that rare beast - a jack of all trades and master of all. He explains, "I am famous in different countries for different things. In Spain I'm well known as a novelist; in South Korea I'm better known as the writer of comic strips; I'm known in New York for my films and elsewhere for my poetry.

"In Paris people know me also for reading Tarot cards. Every Wednesday when I'm in Paris I read Tarot cards in a bar opposite my house." It's his comic strips and graphic novels that he is probably best known for in Britain, most notably The Incal series and his collaboration with the illustrator Moebius (aka Jean Henri Gaston Giraud). He started writing comics in 1980 after his proposed 16-hour adaptation of Dune fell apart due to lack of funds.

Yet, for many, Jodorowsky's true masterpiece is his 1989 movie Santa Sangre. His son Axel Jodorowsky plays the wonderfully named Fenix Adulte who is traumatised after witnessing his father, the leader of the Santa Sangre sect, mutilate his mother. We first see him in a mental institution and much of the story is told in flashbacks, with Jodorowsky's typical exuberance. Relishing the renewed interest in his work, it's clear that the only thing more colourful than the work of Jodorowsky is the man himself.

Kaleem Aftab 26 April 07
El Topo, on selected release 27 April 07. The Jodorowsky Collection (DVD Box Set), released 14 May 07 on Tartan Video.
Read members' comments related to this film.
el topo post 1
comment by wammouth    Apr 27, 2007
brilliant film although needs a couple viewings and some background information to appreciate fully. would be great to see it in the cinema! il look out for it.
complain about this page

related info
wikipedia: jodorowsky
note: The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
see also
santa sangresanta sangre


books and comics archive
Author interviews and reviews from 2002 to 2008.
collective is closing
Thanks to everyone who has supported the site over the years.
five live
five live

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy