Alejandro Jodorowsky: 4K Restoration Collection

Maverick Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky first got here to prominence in Paris within the 1960s, the place he co-based the Panic Movement, a efficiency artwork collective impressed by Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, alongside Fernando Arrabal and Roland Topor. Their provocative public performances have been half secular ritual, half intentional scandal, replete with copious nudity and blasphemous spiritual imagery (components not solely missing in Jodorowsky’s later movies). Working in Mexico in 1968, Jodorowsky filmed Arrabal’s deliriously dystopian play Fando y Lis utilizing solely a one-web page script and his reminiscence of the stage manufacturing. The majority of the movie consists of Fando (Sergio Kleiner) main crippled Lis (Diana Mariscal), who’s largely confined to a pushcart, throughout a postapocalyptic panorama, seemingly populated by an countless parade of varied grotesques, seeking the legendary metropolis of Tar.

As with most of Jodorowsky’s movies, Fando y Lis fuses components of broad social commentary and a deep concern for non secular illumination. The former might be detected most clearly in a matched pair of flashbacks that illustrate the eponymous couple’s traumatic childhood experiences: Lis is assaulted by a gaggle of degenerate aristos, whereas Fando witnesses his mom’s deadly denunciation of his father as a political radical. It’s a critique that’s later deployed in a extra succinctly surreal style with the picture of lady in formal apparel enjoying a piano that’s on fireplace. The extra non secular features in Jodorowsky’s works are virtually at all times depicted by means of a symbolic demise and rebirth, by no means extra actually than on this movie.

Singlehandedly inaugurating the midnight-film craze upon its launch in 1970, El Topo combines the arid landscapes and ultraviolent showdowns of the Italian western with the dogged quest for non secular illumination that’s on the coronary heart of King Hu’s Touch of Zen. Clad in a black leather-based ensemble impressed by Elvis Presley’s televised live performance from 1968, Jodorowsky himself performs the eponymous gunslinger, first seen instructing his bare son (Brontis Jodorowsky) within the high-quality artwork of placing away infantile issues by burying them within the sand. Despite loads of bizarro prospers, the primary a part of the movie is its most standard. El Topo tracks down a dissolute Colonel (David Silva) behind the brutal bloodbath of a whole village. What transpires wouldn’t be misplaced in a movie like Sergio Corbucci’s Django.

After retribution has been assured, the movie enters upon a extra summary section. El Topo faces off towards 4 masters of the gun, every of whom embodies a unique philosophical or non secular path. The exchanges between El Topo and these gurus is commonly leavened with off-kilter humor and visible particulars: There’s a Zen meditation involving freshly laid eggs and a corral that encloses dozens of white rabbits, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland being the apparent referent. The closing a part of the movie brings issues full circle. Now doing obligation as a shaven-headed monk, El Topo enters a desert city, hoping to be of some service, solely to seek out the place solely given over to exploitation, cruelty, and corruption. The finale doubles down on the brutality of the opening. Moving past failure and the demise of the ego, Jodorowsky leaves issues large open for a brand new starting of kinds (to not point out a sequel).

Given free rein after the worldwide success of El Topo, Jodorowsky’s comply with-up was 1973’s The Holy Mountain, a hallucinatory allegory concerning the quest for enlightenment that delves even additional into the paranormal concepts and occult symbolism of the sooner movies. The Holy Mountain encompasses a heady brew of Eastern and Western thought: alchemy, tarot, the Kabbalah, and particularly Zen Buddhism. Viewed superficially, the movie would possibly look like an virtually random meeting of visible and symbolic non sequiturs. But there’s methodology in Jodorowsky’s psychotronic insanity, and anybody with half an curiosity in these issues probably could have their thoughts blown by the daring colours, hanging set design, and surreal imagery alone. The unforgettable rating by Jodorowsky and jazz trumpeter Don Cherry simply lends an extra, suitably psychedelic haze to the proceedings.

The movie’s first act addresses the woes of contemporary civilization, from pupil massacres to non secular hypocrisy. The second introduces 9 persona varieties, every astrologically related to a unique planet, and proceeds to discover their principal predispositions in a collection of usually amusing blackout gags. After the deliberate artificiality of the primary two sections, the movie’s closing act virtually morphs right into a verité documentary that follows the group of seekers, led by the Alchemist (Jodorowsky), as they make their means up the sacred mountain. In the tip, Jodorowsky goes meta by turning the digicam again on the very act of filmmaking. It’s a story conceit that has been accomplished earlier than and since, however not often does it pack each the symbolic logic and narrative punch that closes The Holy Mountain.

In his first-ever documentary, Psychomagic, a Healing Art, Jodorowsky, close to 90 on the time of filming, gives up a shifting, visually hanging exploration of the unconventional psychotherapeutic methods that he’s developed over a lifetime spent studying tarot playing cards and finding out numerous psychological methods and an astonishing number of Eastern and Western non secular practices. The movie is successfully a daisy chain of particular person interventions that appear to range in format solely barely from case to case. After a short introduction, throughout which Jodorowsky lays out the foremost tenets of his method, we witness a number of particular person case histories. He recommends a course of remedy, a type of symbolic exercise that appears pitched someplace between ritual and efficiency artwork. Then a comply with-up interview permits the individuals (a few of them couples) to explain the remedy’s impression on their lives.

These episodes are sometimes intercut with the same second from one among Jodorowsky’s earlier movies—from El Topo and The Holy Mountain to his newer self-reflexive and semi-autobiographical movies, The Dance of Reality and Endless Poetry—as if to emphasise the continuity of his imaginative and prescient from narrative cinema to documentary. Where the sooner movies present Jodorowsky arriving at personal rituals and symbolic acts to cope with his personal points, Psychomagic expands his sphere of affect to incorporate women and men who discover themselves in a cul-de-sac of existential misery. Whether or not the 91-year-outdated director makes one other movie, this documentary might simply stand as a compassionate encapsulation of the themes of struggling and transcendence which have run by means of his complete profession.


Fando y Lis, El Topo, and The Holy Mountain are introduced in new 4K restorations, and every appears to be like fairly spectacular, marking a major enchancment not solely over Anchor Bay’s 2007 DVD editions, but additionally over the person Blu-ray releases of El Topo and The Holy Mountain from 2011. The monochrome Fando y Lis boasts deeper blacks and better readability of high-quality element than ever earlier than on house video. El Topo is introduced in 1.85:1 widescreen for the primary time ever, a facet ratio meant as homage to Sergio Leone. It’s additionally obtainable within the extra acquainted 1.37:1 full body format, and (introduced as an additional) in a separate English dub that’s additionally full body. The widescreen format does lend a extra epic really feel to scenes of wholesale carnage and photographs of sprawling desert vistas, although the framing of tighter photographs can get a bit cramped. With The Holy Mountain, these psychedelic colours seem extra deeply saturated, and grain ranges look effectively-regulated. Considering its digital manufacturing and incorporation of varied AV codecs, Psychomagic, a Healing Art appears to be like completely acceptable.

On the audio facet, Fando y Lis is accessible in Spanish LPCM mono, which does a high-quality job of supporting the protean rating and ambient sound results. El Topo comes with each Spanish Master Audio mono and encompass (in addition to the aforementioned English dub in Master Audio mono). The 5.1 encompass combine properly opens up the already stable mono monitor, lending some depth to Jodorowsky’s hallucinatory rating. The Holy Mountain has each English Master Audio mono and encompass tracks, each of which do effectively by the outlandish psych rating from Jodorowsky and Don Cherry. Psychomagic gives an English Master Audio encompass combine, which supplies some first rate channelization to no matter bits of music could come up.


Each of the movies is available in its personal jewel case, all housed in a slipcase field, alongside a foldout two-sided poster, and a lavishly illustrated 78-page guide replete with forged and crew info, essays on every movie, a 1973 interview with Jodorowsky, and different ephemera. The El Topo and The Holy Mountain circumstances every comprise a soundtrack CD. On their respective discs, the primary three movies include an introduction from movie scholar Richard Peña, a 2019 interview with Jodorowsky reminiscing concerning the movie, and an archival commentary monitor from Jodorowsky. Taken collectively, these bonus supplies represent a grasp class in Jodorowsky’s early work, stuffed with details about each facet of the movies from creation to reception, with explicit emphasis on the occult and non secular symbolism that runs rife all through.

The Fando y Lis case holds six double-sided artwork playing cards: one facet with photographs from El Topo, the opposite with ones from The Holy Mountain. The Blu-ray itself contains La Cravate, an early quick movie from 1957, based mostly on a Thomas Mann novella, and advised solely in mime. It’s a colourful and charming story of id and loss and love. The characteristic-size documentary La Constellation Jodorowsky from 1994 options interviews with collaborators Fernando Arrabal and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, who labored with Jodorowsky on the aborted Dune venture in addition to quite a few graphic novels. There’s some fascinating footage of a Panic Movement efficiency artwork piece, and a prolonged section the place Jodorowsky performs an early model of his “psychogenealogy” method on the documentarian himself.

The El Topo disc has a current interview with Brontis Jodorowsky, who seems within the movie because the eponymous character’s bare son. He talks about assembly his father for the primary time beneath circumstances that each mirror and diverge from incidents within the movie, and offers an intriguing studying of El Topo and The Holy Mountain as non secular companion items. A brief archival interview with Jodorowsky from 2007 touches on the phenomenon of the midnight-film craze inaugurated by screenings of El Topo at New York’s Elgin Theater in 1970.

The Holy Mountain Blu-ray has an sometimes emotional interview with Pablo Leder, who labored for Jodorowsky as each forged and crew member on a number of movies. He gives some fascinating (and one or two fairly amusing) anecdotes about Jodorowsky’s on-set antics. “The A to Z of The Holy Mountain,” a video essay from Ben Cobb, supplies an abecedarian assemblage of random tidbits concerning the movie that vary from Penthouse interviews to a recipe to your very personal edible Jesus statue. Finally, there are 5 minutes’ value of deleted scenes with commentary from Jodorowsky, together with a short take a look at an alternate ending, adopted by practically half an hour of silent outtakes billed as “newly discovered.”


Diving headfirst into ABKCO’s gorgeously assembled field set is sure to be a thoughts-altering expertise for Jodorowsky followers and novices alike.

Cast: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Sergio Kleiner, Diana Mariscal, Brontis Jodorowsky, Alfonso Arau, Mara Lorenzio, Paula Romo, David Silva, Agustín Isunza, Horacio Salinas, Ramona Saunders, Juan Ferrera, Adriana Page, Burt Kleiner, Valerie Jodorowsky, Nicky Nichols, Richard Rutkowski, Luis Lomeli Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky Screenwriter: Alejandro Jodorowsky Distributor: ABKCO Films Running Time: 432 min Rating: NR Year: 1968 – 2019 Release Date: September 18, 2020 Buy: Video

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