It’s been over 20 years since avant-garde, psychomagic auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky made a film. To the delight of cult followers everywhere, this year’s SXSW Film Festival featured his much buzzed-about return to cinema with the semi-autobiographical film The Dance of Reality. Just before the North American premiere, Jodorowsky sat down and talked with eccentric enthusiasm about anything from writing scripts to why he hates 3D. Below is a look at some of the most outrageously enjoyable moments of his conversation.
Jodorowsky is best known for surreal masterpieces like El Topo and The Holy Mountain that feature bizarre, delightful, and disturbing sequences that play with audiences. His first film since 1989, here is a look at The Dance of Reality:
An audience wondering what the maker of these unusual films could be like in person, would not be disappointed! Here are some refreshing highlights from the SXSW conversation moderated by HitFix's Drew McWeeny.
On his artistic sensibilities:
I don’t want to make movies for people who want to relax for two hours, eat popcorn, and then go into the streets. Why I did I want to make art?
On the meaning of art (following the death of his son):
Art is to heal. Our society is ill. Changing the world is an immensity that we can’t do, but as an artist we can do a little. This moment you can live. You know you can die, and then live. Art is not to escape yourself, but to remember yourself. I didn’t make movies about Karate, superheroes, vampires -- none of that shit.
On returning to his hometown to film The Dance of Reality:
Returning to town I suffered so much. For 10 years I was rejected, my father was Jewish Russian. I had no friends. They called me Pinocchio because of my nose. 100 years, the town hasn’t changed. My sons cried because, for the first time, they knew where I had come from.
On his distaste for 3D films:
I don’t want to rape any person with 3 dimension. I want to call the person to go inside another world to open the sensibilities. Come to my heart, beat together, and feel something. Maybe you will find yourself.
On manipulation of the audience:
I’m not Hitchcock. I won’t scare you here, have a cat jump out there. Everyone who sees my pictures will have a different reaction; one will scream, one will laugh. No one will have a right to define you and how you react.
On the genre of his films:
My pictures have no age. Because for me, one year is all the years, past, future, present. (You don’t know what El Topo is.) I have no nationality. “Chinese picture” , “French picture” , “American picture.” We are not a football team! I am product of the planet, or the galaxy. I haven’t thought of a flag for that.
On the realism in film offered by advances in technology:
Movies are not real. They are a painting, I don’t want someone to see it as reality. Pictures are pictures.
On the close-up trend of television:
Now we are ill of television. All you see is the face to represent a person. Next thing you know, we’ll just see the mouth!
On writing scripts:
I used to think pictures should be 12 -- 14 hours! I drove myself crazy writing scripts for 12 -- 14 hour movies. Now, I say, well -- okay, there is The Hobbit.
On famous actors, and why he doesn’t use them:
Why should I find a star? They are a lot of money and trouble. You are a poet. They don’t care about that. Then they have a contract…you have to sign a contract that says they have to have 10 close-ups! No, I’ll cast my family -- they are good actors.
Any Jodorowsky fans out there who are excited to see The Dance of Reality? As filmmakers, what do you think about Jodorowsky’s philosophy on film?