Jodorowky. Jodorowsky is a talented artist who works in many different formats (not unlike fellow cinematic surrealist David Lynch). The avant-garde Chilean auteur is best known for his 1-2 punch in the early 1970’s (El Topo and The Holy Mountain), his iconoclastic spirit, infrequent output (I think it’s 8 total films in 50+ years and I think he’s “disowned” a few of them). He’s also remembered for his failed adaptation attempt of Dune (he never completed his, not failed in the same way as Lynch). His strengths are The Holy Mountain and the fact that he has a clearly identifiable and unmissable audacious visual style.
Best film: The Holy Mountain. The images stay with weeks after watching it. Jodorowsky’s finest work—a brilliant experiment.
total archiveable films: 3
top 100 films: 0
top 500 films: 0
top 100 films of the decade: 0
most overrated: Jodorowsky doesn’t have an overrated film. Santa Sangre and El Topo are both on the TSPDT consensus list but land between 1001-2000—and I’ll get to The Holy Mountain directly below here in the underrated section— so clearly not overrated.
most underrated : The Holy Mountain. I’d move it higher than the slot they have it- TSPDT has it at #803. The overhead shot work is both impressive from a formal standpoint and daringly beautiful.
gem I want to spotlight : El Topo. Unlike The Holy Mountain this is a little more grounded in traditional narrative (which isn’t saying much in comparison with The Holy Mountain). It is certainly a Jodorowsky film but has elements of and influences from Leone.
- Surrealism, Bunuel is his lineage (and Lynch picking up after him)—the Bunuel connection is there too because some of the images feel straight out of Dali
- There’s a grand circus element in his work that feels like Fellini as well
- A true avant-garde artist, experimental cinema, cult classics or midnight cinema
- Symmetry and staging of the frame as his canvas—medium long shots to design the entire frame— Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates– it does feel at times like he’s doing art in front of the camera instead of cinematic art
- Heavy symbolism in his works
- Revolutionary, anti-convention, anti-Hollywood, anti-traditional cinema—an important alternative
- Reoccurring use of overheat shots, bold color choices
- The Holy Mountain
- El Topo
- Santa Sangre
By year and grades
|1970- El Topo||R|
|1973- The Holy Mountain||MS|
|1989- Santa Sangre||R|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives
Incredible work Drake, I just wanted to ask you if you had seen The Holy Mountain, but you got ahead of me, i was amazed, although the narration is somewhat awkward.
Who else would make a film with a reenactment of the Spanish conquest of the Americas with frogs? Unforgettable.
@Zane- haha point taken. Gilliam? I’m doing a Gilliam study right now but agreed– Jodorowski is one of a kind
Gilliam is probably the only other who can truly be compared to Jodorowsky. Even the directors who talk about Jodorowsky’s influence on their projects, Winding Refn probably being his biggest fan, probably wouldn’t even go quite to the lengths Jodorowsky (or by comparison Gilliam) go to in their projects. The shit-to-gold or the legless man attached to the armless man are things probably only these directors would do with any degree of sincerity. I don’t even think Verhoeven for example would do it.
Hey, if you have MUBI (I’d be surprised if you don’t to be honest but I’m not judging; I don’t have it myself), there’s a lot of Jodorowsky on there right now so he might not be a bad idea for a study.
@Zane- thanks- I do have it- good looking out here.