There is more than a bit of madness to the cinema of Alejandro Jodorowsky. Or so it appears to the sane.
In films like El Topo, Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre the director pushes the borders of reality and imagination in unnerving, grotesque, and hallucinatory ways. There is no right-side up in his work, there is no safe zone or single perspective by which one can see their way through. Jodorowsky’s films are experiences, they are projected visions in the spiritual sense, the explorative hypotheses of one mind transmitted in shocking clarity to others. It seems mad to us, insane, these ideas Jodorowsky brings to life, but to the director they seem they opposite.
“People say I am mad,” he has said, “I am not mad. I am trying to heal my soul.”
Not only is that statement exclusionary in the most artistic of ways, it also reveals that what we perceive as filmic descents into madness are often times the director through his characters attempting to climb out of insanity. In a warped way, or rather a way that seems warped to us, Jodorowsky is seeking an end to madness by expelling it from himself onto the screen and in turn to us. It’s a divine infection, his work, and it carries with it an emotional resonance few other directors can boast.
In the below montage from Martin Kessler, the maddest moments from Jodorowsky’s oeuvre have been collected in an attempt to discern the method therein. It’s an elegant and gorgeous trip, and for newcomers to the director, a definite gateway drug to his work.
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Mad Cinema of The Sacred Heart from Martin Kessler on Vimeo.
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