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Alex K.
09-26-2010, 04:26 PM
An Evening With Jodorowsky

By Alex.

I start the trip fairly early; waking up at 8:20 and preparing for the day and leaving just before 9. I’m ready to make a pretty important journey for me, to meet one of my mentors. And I can’t help but think of the documentary Walking to Werner and think that I’ve got it too easy. I really need to go off into a warzone to have more interesting stories to spread.

I decide to take the bus due to my aversion of one way streets in the city and potential car trouble. In my backpack are two books: Writings from the early notebooks by Nietzsche, and Conquest of the Useless by Werner Herzog. On the trip I find myself immersed in the Herzog book, noting especial passages, as my MP3 player blares the OST to Cowboy Bebop and I then stop reading around 12 when a headache begins to set. In my notepad are scribbles, ill formed phrases made even more distorted by the constant G-force of the bus ride.

On the forum, Troy wanted me to ask Jodorowsky about the status of Tusk and working with Omar Shariff. I can’t remember if Jodorowsky had answered this or not in the past, my instinct tells me he did in some way, but I make note of it.

Finally at 2:30 I get to the city. Overdressed as usual, but I was lucky in that the midtown heat had yet to set in, Manhattan seems particularly cruel to those who wear cow hide, I blame Guiliani for that. Right away I get a bite to eat at the Villa Pizza on 42nd, in the back of my mind there plays dozens of inner city grindhouse films shot on 42nd. I check the time constantly, the show is set to start at 7, I figure I should get there around 6:20, and by the time I’ve finished eating it’s only 3. Bored and not wanting to wander aimlessly I make my way over to the over-priced movie theatres, The Regal is playing The Expendables at 3:20, nothing else, having already seen Expendables and not digging it as much as Rambo 4 I check out the AMC across from it and luck out when Wall Street 2 is playing just now.

I get out of the theatre 5 minutes before the movie officially ends, having missed nothing due to the clichés of its storyline and walking away without feeling any wiser from that experience. It’s only 5:30 so I decide to walk from 42nd to 59th. The conversations you hear from passersby remain infinitely interesting as the heat really sets in. I get to the Museum of Arts and Design at 6:25 and introduce myself and get in the line, at first taken aback by a relatively small line for such a noted director. A guy is trying to impress a woman by talking about Kenneth Anger, specifically noting Lucifer Rising. I point out that they should check out Invocation of My Demon Brother and explain the Manson Family back story and soon after the show begins.

It’s an eclectic mix of attendees: Punks, Arthouse junkies, yuppies, freaks, etc. My kind of people. The doors open and I get my seat as the room fills with maybe 100 people. About 15 minutes later Debbie Harry introduces Jodorowsky by giving the usual praise. Jodorowsky appears and the applause is overwhelming. He seems a little frail but he speaks with a passion and vigor of much younger men. He says that The Holy Mountain was his attempt at filming an acid trip, and he wanted to tap directly into the audiences’ unconscious mind. He’ll be taking questions after the screening.

As The Holy Mountain plays I notice now how funny it is, particularly the section focusing on Dictators and Industrialists who rule planets.

“His feet stink like a rotten dog.”

“He have beautiful teeth.”

The audience responds with appropriate laughter. For the scene where the Thief has wax replicas made of him in the image of Christ; I notice two in the audience nodding their heads in a ‘no’ gesture. Technically the print was fine, but the framing seemed off –when the armless midget kicks at a fallen mannequin seemed heavily cropped-, and there were sound issues during each reel change. While there was very noticeable squirming among the audience during the hallucinations of the group as they approached the Immortals, to my surprise the audience responds with laughter at the ending.

Jodorowsky appears once more. The Q & A seemed a little rushed. But hands were rising very quickly and it was difficult to time when to raise your hand to ask. Not very many interesting questions were asked, most of which had been answered in the commentary for Holy Mountain. But his responses to them still proved interesting. Most notably: His dissatisfaction with Hollywood, and working with stars due to stars taking control away from the director and interpreting a character in a way that promotes the star instead of the story. His greatest fear is that Walt Disney is chronologically frozen and one day will return to earth, and the American people will all be wearing mouse ears like Yamikas. He talks a bit about Enlightenment and how it varies per what you want out of life; an emotional enlightenment would be to feel loved, a sexual enlightenment would be to feel satisfied, and I forgot one other but I believe it refers to spiritual enlightenment would be a feeling of emptiness and let go of baggage and error. Etc and etc.

Very quickly I realize that his dissatisfaction with stars kinda’ answers Troy’s question about Omar Shariff. I at first think there’s plenty of time to ask questions and so I ask him something a little different in regards to what he thought of The Fountain (a film heavily inspired by The Holy Mountain) and Jodorowsky say’s that he met Aronofsky in Sitges and screened Holy Mountain to Aronofsky’s entire crew. As to what he thought of the film, he liked it, but didn’t like the concessions made to Hollywood. I was hoping someone would ask about King Shot, but another generic question is asked and the Q & A suddenly ends.

Jodorowsky meets everyone in the lobby; it’s very emotional at this point. I was far from the only one who had made a very deep connection to his films. He’s hugged by many. I give him my copy of his DVD boxset for an autograph and tell him how much of an inspiration his films have been and shake his hand. He seemed touched by it all. One of the Severin guys is handing out fliers for Santa Sangre, I asked him a few questions and the release will not have a new commentary but will include a new documentary and interviews. I didn’t get a chance to mention my (and the forum's) fondness for their release of The Sinful Dwarf.

At first I thought I was spending the night at NYC but the Hostel I was looking at filled at the last minute, and I didn’t feel like spending $150 plus tax for a hotel, so I make my way back to 42nd St Port Authority with 20 minutes to spare for the last bus. On the way back I listen to the Pixies ‘Where is my Mind’ and try to read through the night

Troy Howarth
09-26-2010, 04:32 PM
Great stuff - thanks for asking about those questions! :)