El Topo Screening + Q&A with Alejandro Jodorovsky @ Lincoln Center (NYC)

November 7th, 2011 Posted by Events, Featured, Film No Comment yet

Words by Matthew Schuchman

His second feature length film, El Topo made a small splash in New York’s film scene but exploded after John Lennon urged the world to experience this trip into the avant-garde. Continuing his work with a handful of violently colorful films, Jodorowsky grew a large and avid fan base through works, The Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre. A man who lives to create and challenge the minds of his audience, he has his hand in a large array of artistic mediums. Theater, film, music, novels, and a large array of graphic novels in production from 1966 till present day, Jodorowsky never stops pushing the boundaries of his own capabilities. With new film projects in the works at the age of 82, Jodorowsky is looking to amaze a fresh batch of new minds.

Following the screening, Alejandro sat down for a Q & A session with the audience. Quirky and playful, his joyous mood lit up the room right away as he answered the first simple question of the night, “When was the last time you saw, El Topo?” with the polite yet obvious, “Tonight.” The nights questions mainly focused on El Topo, but the generous Jodorowksy answered each query to its fullest, shining a light on his thoughts and working process. As massive fans of his creative vision, as well as his dedication to surrealism and the subconscious, IPMM was honored to be in attendance.

Please enjoy the photos from the night, as well as some choice quotes from the one and only (self proclaimed) Cecile B. Demille of the underground.


“…I write the script, but when you write the script, you look at everything, you know? Things happen, and then I change the actor, I change the script. When I decide that I will be playing that character; I change the script, because I didn’t know how to ride a horse. So when I had written, “the hero rides a horse,” I changed it to, “the hero walks…”

“…For me, movies were an art, the biggest art. I never think of movies like an economical solution, like an industry. I love to write books, to paint, to make music. I wanted to be Leonardo DiVinci and then I wanted to be a poet. Like a poet, not to be a servant of the industry. Not to be the servant of the establishment. Not to be the servant of any person. To do a picture, is hard work. With the mind and like an artist, not necessarily for the money. I never thought I would make money with this picture, I never thought anyone would see this picture. Never…”

“…that is not movies; to tell history. Theater is image, it’s vision, it’s color. It is an art and that is what I think.”

“People ask me, “Why did I make a cowboy picture?” I will tell you the truth. The first picture I did was Fando y Lis. Somebody here buy the picture, and show the picture, but cut out all the scenery and the violence and make it try to show a romantic history. Three days in the theater and it was finished. It was a big, big failure…I was destroyed, but then I get over it and say “Okay, we make a cowboy picture and everyone will come to see it!”

“…I am an artist. I am not making a comedy, I am not making a tragedy, I am not making a political thing, I am making everything… You can laugh, you can get angry, every person has a different reaction. This is what I wanted to do. Not say what your reaction should be…”

“A piece of art, any art, anywhere, if it doesn’t change my life, doesn’t move me in a big way, is not art for me. Art needs to heal me soul, art needs to show me what I am. This is not to criticize, yes, I am critical, but this is what it is. I need something to give to me. When I went to the Louvre, I see all the paintings and suddenly what do I wonder. I notice the whole time I am looking at all the paintings. When I get to the Giaconda, she is looking at me. This is the genius of Leonardo. It’s looking to me, the painting is looking to me. Then I wonder, what is she saying to me. I have to go inside my soul to hear. Or maybe it is just me who thinks like that.”

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