Moviemaking used to be an art. Unfortunately, most of today’s movies have lost sight of that. Now in order for a movie to be made in Hollywood there must be focus groups, and a target audience, and then focus groups about target audiences, and what we end up with is essentially the same movies being made over and over again – Shallow super heroes, romantic comedies that are neither, pointless dramas, car chases for no apparent reason. The movies of today have become a brightly colored mottled mess, and when we mix all the colors together we come up with brown. All those brilliant colors just turn to brown in the end, it says and means absolutely nothing.
Even the art house theater that was the cinofiles refuge has been perverted. The once thought provoking storytelling of the art house has melded into a grittier version of all the same movies at the cineplex. Big stars act as though they are doing us all a big favor by appearing in “gutsy” low budget films, missing the point, that the audience might like to see someone besides their bleached teeth and botoxed faces. Here the car chases are blurrier, and the romance is a tad dirtier, but it is the same brown most of the time. In fact most of the great living directors have taken leave of filmmaking turning instead to making wine, or writing books, or joining cults.
It seems there are literally only a tiny handful of true artists still willing to make a movie for the overwhelming need to tell a story, not to make money, not to fulfill a contract. Perhaps the most amazing and vibrant of them all is Alejandro Jodorowsky. He stands as more than a mere man, but a great spirit, unafraid to take a leap. He is willing to tell an epic story and he has been doing this for more than 40 years!
I was first introduced to his work via a well worn VHS copy of his epic film El Topo, which was filmed the year I was born. I was literally glued to the television watching the story unfold. Next came the technicolor trip known as The Holy Mountain. Both films were nearly impossible to find in America at the time I was introduced to them. In fact both could only be found in those days with Japanese subtitles on them.
Rumors abounded about the myth of the films and the man behind them – He killed a thousand rabbits in the making of El Topo, his movies were banned in America, he was in hiding, he almost made the movie Dune but his ideas were way too crazy. As years passed The Story of Dune and it’s unmaking would slowly unfold, but it wasn’t until around 1990 that a new, true Jodorowsky film would come to fruition – Santa Sangre!
After harassing my local video store to get a copy – which they watched and then refused to rent, instead selling it to my sister who gave it to me as a Christmas gift – I was so proud to own my own copy of the masterpiece. I watched it many, many times and loaned it out to friends, and in fact lost a few friends over the film, but impressed the man who would become my husband and soul mate by sharing it with him while we were dating.
Again, decades went by and finally in 2013, Alejandro Jodorowsky released The Dance Of Reality, a “biography” of his childhood in a small coastal town in Chile. It captures so well the pain and uncertainty of childhood for the sensitive thinking child, the outsider, the loner and the dangers that life brings.
In a NY Times article it is said that he told his crew during the filming: “This is not a film. This is the healing of my soul.”
Two days before the artist’s 86th birthday – February 17, 2015 – Alejandro Jodorowsky launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the second part of The Dance Of Reality, by 10pm on Day 2 he’d reached $162,992 of his modest $350,000 goal. One can only imagine what could be if this great artist surpasses his goal by a wide margin.
Could that mean others of his unmade films such as King Shot, or Abel Cain, or dare I say it Dune could be possibly set to film as his stories so deserve? I for one want to live in a world where true artists such as Jodorowsky can see their dreams realized in such a strong way by the very people he has so long affected and stirred. The feeling of being able to directly assist in that is one of the greatest gifts of the internet!
Could this at long last support of his great art be the thing that magically opens the eyes of the world and saves our planet from doom? I for one certainly believe anything is possible with the power of the will and the magic of Alejandro Jodorowsky!
And, I should add, fan or not, ANYONE who believes in the support of the arts should feel obligated to throw $5 into the fund to help further the arts, redeem filmmaking, and help a master achieve his greatest works, because far from fading, Alejandro Jodorowsky seems to be blazing brighter and hotter than ever before! And with that all things are possible!
- Amy Bugbee