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Cult of the Living Masters: Alejandro Jodorowsky

Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in 1929 in a small town in Tocopilla, Chile, to a family of Jewish immigrants who travelled from Ukraine. After studying at the University of Santiago, he moved to Paris where he studied mime with Marcel Marceau and formed the surrealist movement Panic with the artists Roland Topor and Fernando Arrabal. This is the starting point of his first feature film “Fando y Lis”, produced and banned in Mexico due to its profane content. This, however, didn’t stop him from continuing to exhibit his surrealistic vein with the mystical western “El Topo”. Purchased for distribution in the USA, it would become the first midnight screening ever, a solution found by New York distributors to screen such an alternative film. With the help of a big fan, John Lennon, he got funding for “The Holy Mountain” and began adapting Frank Herbert’s novel “Dune”. This was such a majestic project that no one in Hollywood dared to produce it. It was around that time that he turned to comic books, initiating a long-lasting relationship with the graphic artist Moebius. He did not give up on cinema, but, of the three following films, only “Santa Sangre” has the surrealistic features that characterized his filmmaking. More recently, the success of the documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune”, which recounts the incidents of this abandoned project, allowed him to return to the big screen with the autobiographical films “The Dance of Reality” (premiered at MOTELX 2014) and “Endless Poetry”.
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