Santa sangre

Comentarios: victor_m@cimat.mx Santa Sangre es, en cierta forma, la consagración de Alejandro Jodorowsky (Chile, 1929) en el terreno fílmico. Esta consagración no está relacionada con la fama, el reconocimiento o el culto del director, algo ya ganado con anterioridad por Jodorowsky con películas como Fando y Lis (y toda la controversia generada en su estreno), El Topo (confesamente admirada por John Lennon) o La Montaña Sagrada, por mencionar las más conocidas. La consagración que se menciona está relacionada más bien por el hecho de abordar temas de mayor complejidad y profundidad (trascendencia, como gusta decir su director), sin renunciar, por supuesto, a la imaginería visual, barroquismo, surrealismo o extravagancias a las que nos tiene acostumbrados. La escena inicial nos muestra a Fenix, un hombre recluido en un sanatorio mental, renuente a aceptar su condición humana. Las razones de este comportamiento se encuentran en su niñez. El elemento Freudiano es evidente. La niñez de Fenix (el niño mago) la vivió en un circo, al lado de su padre Orgo (el lanzador de cuchillos), su madre Concha (trapecista) y varios personajes extravagantes (una mujer tatuada, un enano, una niña muda que hace pantomima). Al mismo tiempo, Concha es líder de una secta que profesa el culto a una santa, a la que le fueron cortados los brazos por sus violadores. Su lugar de adoración, una iglesia hecha de lámina y cartón, donde guardan, recolectada en un estanque la sangre de la santa, "santa sangre". Irónicamente, Concha comparte el destino de la mujer objeto de su culto, sus brazos son cortados por su esposo, quien luego termina suicidándose frente a la mirada de su hijo. De vuelta al presente, Concha reaparece con su hijo, solo para volverlo esclavo de su voluntad. Fenix se convierte en sus brazos y manos, manos que actúan, tocan el piano, y matan. Así, Fenix va de un encierro a otro, sin embargo hay claridad en su vida, hay inocencia que se remite de nuevo a su niñez (el enano del circo, la chica muda), inocencia que al final lo salva. Aún queda la duda: en una mente enferma, tan confundida como la de Fenix, ¿cuál es la realidad y cuál la fantasía? Al parecer es una interrogante que Jodorowsky mantiene. Hay secuencias cautivadoras e inolvidables, llenas de una extraña belleza. La perfecta armonía entre los brazos de Fenix y el cuerpo de Concha, su madre, como si parecieran uno solo, o la secuencia en el cementerio donde las víctimas de Fenix (o de su madre, mas bien) emergen de sus tumbas para reclamar a su ejecutor. También hay escenas inolvidables por su extravagancia (la muerte y funeral de un elefante, por ejemplo), el sello distintivo de su director. Al paso de los años y ahora que Jodorowsky está más dedicado a otras cosas que no tienen que ver con el cine, es interesante saber lo que significa para él esta película. En una entrevista menciona: "En cada película, deposito todo lo que soy, también lo que no soy. Búsqueda, todo es una búsqueda. Una búsqueda de expresión, de conocimiento, una búsqueda de emociones, diferentes búsquedas. La Montaña Sagrada es una búsqueda de identidad. Santa Sangre es una búsqueda emocional..." Santa Sangre es una película que merece toda la atención y admiración, la obra maestra de Alejandro Jodorowsky, un director

afortunádamente atípico dentro del cine. Santa Sangre (México, 1989) Dirigida por Alejandro Jodorowsky Escrita por Alejandro Jodorowsky, Roberto Leoni y Claudio Argento Con: Axel Jodorowsky (Fenix), Blanca Guerra (Concha), Sabrina Dennison (Alma), Guy Stockwell (Orgo), Thelma Tixou (Mujer tatuada), Adan Jodorowsky (Fenix de niño), Faviola Elenka Tapia (Alma de niña), Jesus Juarez (Aladin).

"I am not normal". The Guardian Interview by Steve Rose. Tomado de http://film.guardian.co.uk/interview/interviewpages. "I am not making hot dogs". Entrevista con Alejandro Jodorowsky por Sam Mcabee & Forestter Cobalt. Tomado de http://www.5minutesonline.com

"I am not normal"
Alejandro Jodorowsky has made three cult films, writes esoteric sci-fi and claims he will live to 150. Steve Rose met him Friday November 22, 2002 The Guardian Many film-makers have profited from the wild and vivid imagination of Alejandro Jodorowsky, but Jodorowsky himself is not one of them. He has made three classic cult movies - El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre - and he has had a significant influence on popular culture over the past 35 years, from Mexican cinema to the making of Alien, the imagery of Marilyn Manson and even the development of mime. But he hasn't made a penny out of it. A Chilean-born Jewish Russian, Jodorowsky has described his films as the equivalent of psychedelic drugs. They mix surrealism, mysticism and warped violence, and have invariably been too esoteric, too pretentious or too graphic for popular consumption. They are, however, filled with unforgettable images: the conquest of Latin America reenacted by costumed frogs; a circus elephant's funeral, complete with giant coffin; a master duellist whose weapon is a butterfly net. His film-making techniques were similarly unorthodox. He regularly used non-actors he found on location, and there are tales of him putting them, and himself, through gruelling experiences for the camera. Rumour has it he would make them drink one another's blood, film real violence rather than staged and dangle himself off rickety rope bridges in the desert. Allegedly, he even killed 300 rabbits with his bare hands for one scene. Separating truth from fiction, or even the past from the present, has always been a problem with a figure like Jodorowsky. Today - silverhaired, smartly dressed and surrounded by cats in his book-lined Paris apartment - he looks every bit the senior artist. However, his contempt for linear thought is undiminished. "Listen," he says. "I can make this interview like a normal person. I am not a normal person. I am living in a normal body, but my mind is not normal. When you speak about my past, I have no past. You see the person I am now - I am 74. My wife is 37 years younger than me. I don't feel the difference. My consciousness is without limits more than when I was 40 or 50. I don't regret any past. I am not there. I am not sorry not to make pictures, because I know one day I will do it. I intend to live 150 years. I am only in the middle of my life. So when you say what do you think about the past? Nothing! It's done!" This much we do know. Having directed theatre in Chile and studied mime in Paris with Marcel Marceau (for whom he claims to have invented

the famous "I'm trapped inside a glass box" routine), Jodorowsky filmed his no-budget 1967 debut, Fando y Lis, from a half-remembered play by his surrealist associate Fernando Arrabal. The film generated censure and death threats in Mexico. But Jodorowsky didn't come to international attention until two years later when he released El Topo, in which he plays a black-clad gunslinger in search of enlightenment. The film was seen by John Lennon, who advised Apple manager Allen Klein to buy the rights to it, and introduced the first screening of it in New York. El Topo became a permanent fixture of late-night hippie cinema for the rest of the decade and a favourite of the emerging New Hollywood generation, particularly the likes of Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. Hopper's ill-fated follow-up to Easy Rider, The Last Movie, was inspired by Jodorowsky's spontaneous, free-ranging methods, as well as his mystical and anthropological concerns. At one stage, Hopper invited Jodorowsky to his studio in Taos, New Mexico to help him finish the movie. "When I see the rushes - not very clear, but some beautiful scenes," Jodorowsky remembers. "He had a lot of material and six editing machines, but he could not do it. In one or two days I cut it myself, but I think Dennis didn't want another guy making his movie, so he rejected it and made his own. It was not so good. Later I asked him to be in Santa Sangre, and he said no, just like that." Meanwhile, Lennon had persuaded Klein to put up $1m to help Jodorowsky make another film, The Holy Mountain. Like El Topo, it was a spiritual quest, this time following a Christ-like figure (Jodorowsky, again) seeking immortality. "El Topo was normal, The Holy Mountain was abnormal. My ambition was enormous. I wanted to make a picture like you would make a holy book, like the Bhagavad Gita or the Tao Te Ching. I went very far." Jodorowsky hired a fashionable guru to prepare him, performing mystical exercises and experimenting with LSD and magic mushrooms (the only time he has taken drugs, he says). He put his cast through a similar process, keeping them in a house together for two months and allowing them only four hours' sleep a night. The result was even more extravagant than El Topo, and although it was never shown in the US, it became an underground hit in Europe. Jodorowsky's next project was even more ambitious. Over-ambitious, as it turned out: a $20m French-financed adaptation of Frank Herbert's Dune. An impressive team was assembled. Orson Welles agreed to take a role, as did Salvador Dali, who recommended to Jodorowsky a Swiss painter called HR Giger for concept designs. Also on the team were Pink Floyd, French graphic artist Moebius and writer Dan O'Bannon. After a year of preparation, the project fell through. According to Jodorowsky, the Hollywood producers realised they could make a similar picture without a wild card like himself at the helm, and pulled the plug. Jodorowsky's disregard for the sanctity of Herbert's novel could also have been a factor. A few years later, Hollywood was working on its own version of Dune, with David Lynch directing. Meanwhile, Ridley Scott made Alien with half the crew Jodorowsky had assembled, including Giger as creature designer and O'Bannon as writer. Jodorowsky was left behind. His one triumphant return was Santa Sangre, made in 1990: a customarily freakish but more accessible circus horror with echoes of Tod Browning

and Hitchcock's Psycho. There were two more failed projects: an Indian elephant film, Tusk, and an unreleased film, The Rainbow Thief, starring Peter O'Toole ("I hated him; he was the worst person I ever met in my life"). "When you don't do something, you shouldn't think of it as a failure," says Jodorowsky. "Failure doesn't exist. It's only a change of direction." Now he has turned to the medium of comic books, where his imagination can run riot without budgetary constraints. He has several titles on the go, including an epic sci-fi series, Incal, with Moebius, and its offshoot, Metabarons, a sort of delirious, space-age Greek tragedy. There are plans for a $15m sequel to El Topo, in which Jodorowsky's friend and fan, Marilyn Manson, is expected to star. But raising capital is difficult for Jodorowsky, and he has no expectations. Nor does he have any bitterness, he says, towards those who have made money from his ideas. "It's not important. What's important is to give your ideas to the world if you love the world. My pictures are a gift. I am an honest artist. "For me, the goal of art is to heal. I see avant-garde art now - it is all destructive. But I think to be avant-garde, you need to be a saint. That's why I push my art into therapy. I help people. In the last six months, three young people who were going to commit suicide have told me I saved their lives. That is better than making films."

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I Am Not Making Hot Dogs

An Interview wit Alejandro Jodorowsky (director El Topo, Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre)
Sam Mcabee & Forestter Cobalt Sam: Okay, the first thing that I wanted to ask you about was, where do you think inspiration comes from? Where do your ideas come from? Inspiration comes from imagination. And what is imagination? We don't know. Eh? Is coming from unconscious. That is the truth. Do you think that ideas become more prominent when, let's say, there's a collective of people, or do you think that ideas are easier to come to when you're alone? The concept of "easy" or "difficult" doesn't exist in the human soul. It's like a flower. A flower open without difficulty. It's not easy, it's not difficult, the flower opens. The artistic creation is like this: like the flowers. You wait, and then the idea open. [Gestures with his hand like a flower opening.] Like this, no? You don't construct what you do. What you do is born into yourself. Eh? And then you need to give the condition, in order to get this...commo sais this...open. No? That is the truth. So it's in the same way a sort of-The truth is I was living in my intellect, a lot of the years. And then I...I...I...I realize my limits. I have all kind of limits. My family give me limits. My society give me limits. The world, the language, the Spanish language give me limits. And then I start to

work in order to broke the rational limits. Lucid dreams, some experience with gurus, masters, brouhas, searching, meditation, sometimes I...TWICE I take LSD, TWICE I take mushrooms, with masters, um, Indian masters, Mexican. Et cetera. And then, in the moment, the walls of the reason went down. I broke the limits. I make a bridge between the conscious and unconscious. For me now, they go together, the two. Now. And then the unconscious is not any more my enemy. It is my ally - my unconscious. And when I need to have something, I put, I ask it, no? I want to have an idea [gestures like planting a seed], I put there, and the open flower, alone. I don't make effort. How important would you say-You can prove to me. Ask me something, I can invite something for you and it is immediately here. How important do you think reality is in your life? Like the concrete of reality? Reality. There are no concrete realities. That also is not true. There is no reality. Listen, everything you are seeing here [gestures around the room], this girl, this table, the lake, the walls...in fifty more years will be not here. Not even us. Nothing, in fifty years. Nothing will be there. No? It's an illusion. It's like a dream all that. It's changing. Then there are no concrete realities. They are very different, changing in every second. And the what you call concrete reality have the same principal of dreams. There is no difference between reality and dreams. It's exactly the same quality, the same construction. When you come to consciousness, when you are out of the dream. Eh? That is what I think. I tell you I will say the truth. And then, myself, I learn, I didn't came like that. One day, I have your age, I was dreaming, and I became lucid inside the dream, and I said, I am dreaming, into the dream. And I started to make lucid dreams, from then on my life. And I make experience inside the dream, though my consciousness opened. When you ask it to me, Who you are, I don't know who I am now. I am a conscious, without definition. Eh? I have no definition -- myself. I am into that [gestures at his body], but I am not that [gestures at his body]. I am into my personality, but I am not my personality. I am into inside my language, but I am not my language. I have no nationality. I have no name. I have no sex. I have no...no...no definition. No? And when you are like that, you can walk into the concrete "reality", and you are walking in a dream. And in that moment, miracles start to happen. No? Miracles. Because everything outside is a miracle, but you don't see that, the miracles, you are not, maybe you is, but not every person, they are not able to see, they are not out of the dream, they are not lucid. Eh? Okay, this is my answer. [Laughter.] About concrete reality. I read something about when you were getting ready to shoot "El Topo", you searched out the landscapes that related to the dreams of the earth-I want to say, "El Topo" I made 30 years ago. I was not me--he's a person who died. Now I die, I was reborn. I'm not me, but I respect the person who make "El Topo". But he was searching. He have not, he have not find himself, he make the picture in order to find himself. And when I was in that time there, I went with a jeep, with a photographer, in the north of Mexico, in some state of dreams, like a dream, no? And finding places, like dreams. Because in the Mexican industry, they shot the pictures all the time in the same space, in the same landscape--very easy for them. I have to find new landscape, new places. I did that, but in a state of dreams. I find that, no?

When you come with the camera, always I shoot reality. In Mexico I shoot in the street, in the middle of thieves, of criminals. I make "Santa Sangre", and I was in the worst part of Mexico, very dangerous. And then we speak with the chief of thieves, and he became the person we pay to him, he became the person who sees the way, who makes sure nothing happens. Protection-But it was very dangerous, very dangerous. But when you come with your picture to reality, reality, it starts to be a dream. Nothing is any more real with a camera. You can invent reality when is a commercial picture, or you give a miracle to reality when it is an artistic picture. Everything is better, is beautiful. Eh? And then when I direct the picture is not myself. I am completely different. When I make "Santa Sangre", always like that I sleep for hours, for days. I don't speak with anybody. I don't want to see friends. In reality I don't sleep with my woman, don't make love, only dedicate to the picture, not to speak with anybody only when I am shooting, in a state of ferocity. Criminal ferocity. In order to do that, you know, because in movies, the only person they say have any real idea, they have an anus. You know what is anus? Asshole. [Makes image with hand.] They have an idea, they have an asshole. They have an asshole, and this is his idea. And then you need to say "Shut up! I don't want ideas here, stop the speak!" Huh? "Is me that is shooting. Close your mouth!" Everyone have an idea: actor have an idea, the photographer have an idea, the technician have idea...everybody want to collaborate! But the real picture is like a poem. You need to do your picture. That I am doing. I am like a criminal, fighting all the person, in order to do whatever I want. The producer comes...is awful. Forestter: Who are you now? You say you are a different person for "El Topo", a different person for "Holy Mountain", how? Even my child you see in "Holy Mountain", or in "Santa Sangre", one child now have 20 years. The person who cut their arm is married with two children. Another of my children who was there 24 years, died, not anymore here. And then everything changes, is not anymore. Eh? Every one of them, my sons, they are not the same anymore. Eh? That is what I am saying-life is changing. In every day life we think we are identical, we are never changing, we are very proud. And then we change, we are not the same. The problem is, some person dies, and dresses as a person living. They dress like a person in the 60s, for example, they are the same. They never change because it is like they died. And a person who wants to have a soul, dies and is reborn. No? Is reincarnation in yourself. To die and to reincarnated in yourself, and then you are a new person. You come from the death of yourself, and you are a new person, and you have a new life, new ideas. And you continue to create. In the masonry, they put you inside a coffin, and then you go out in the... Benedictinos monks, Catholic monks, when you go inside the order, they cut your hair, they wash your feet, they put a new name that doesn't resemble this one. They are symbols in order to say you died, and you were reborn into a new being, no? More extense. Maybe I am not answering what you ask? Forestter: How you kept being reborn between each movie, or-In every movie, I put everything I am, also what I am not. Searching, everything is a search. A search of expression, knowledge, a search of emotions, different searches, no? "Holy Mountain" is an identity search. "Santa Sangre" is an emotional search--because I was a victim of my parents. And then I want to research how I feel myself. And I put everything I am, and then I am empty. I cannot make a picture for years because what I will say, I say everything. What new? Why to make

another picture, repeat myself? I am not making hot dogs. Who I am in one picture, another picture, a new story but always the same. Each cook makes only one picture in his life, each cook, he makes the same picture, everything never changes. He reproduces himself [motions like he's making hot dogs]. Why? Why to make 40 pictures? Why? Always the same. John Ford is fantastic. You see one or two, you see all of John Ford. They're the same. Why? Well I am speaking of pictures as an art. When you speak about industry, there you need to make one a year. That is different. I am not speaking of movies as an industry. You go into the industry of movies you make sales. You see the new pictures sell. That is a shame. Sam: So you make films as a searching device-Yes! Yes I make films in order to, as an artist makes a film, in order to give myself, to express, to find something, no? I don't like my pictures. When I see my pictures I am ashamed. I will never do that, I don't like. But did they help you to-But I don't like because I see all things different. Oh, how I could do, why I didn't do THAT, why I did THAT, no? But would you say that they served their purpose? Did you find within it what you were looking for? Oh yes yes yes yes yes. A lot. Changed my life, every one of my pictures changed my life. Even the worst, "Tusk". I make in India, with a crook. The producer was a crook. He said, You'll have an artificial elephant as King Kong. He gives me a normal elephant. I have nothing. It was terrible. But I learned a lot because I start to work with elephants. Elephants could be our masters. Animals are our masters. All the totems, the animal totems have a knowledge in them. I learn a lot in my life this way. Not the picture but the contact with the elephants change my life. And how...I have time? I will tell an anecdote? I can? You know, the elephant live 100 years, 90 years. It have only three persons, all the life he work with them. One who makes the food, another who wash because the animals they like the water, and then they're happy, and the number three, the master who is the karnak, the three. And they work all his life with the elephant. And when I come there, I see a little man who had a hole here [motioning to the shin of his leg], and he have not medicine, no nothing. And in India, he was not a human being. He was dying. And then I say to the officer, "I want to do something for him." And he say, "Don't do nothing, because if he die, they will say you killed him." And then I say, "Let me do something, without permission." And then I went to him but I don't have nothing only I have a tonic for the hair. And I put the tonic with alcohol, and creme for hemorrhoids, I put the creme for hemorrhoids (on his leg) and I pray, in Spanish [says prayer]. And after a week, he was saved. I saved the guy with that. And then I start to work with elephants, do everything with elephants. I push the elephants. I ride the elephants. A lot of things between the 12 elephants, running. And then one day an officer came, and speak very bad to the karnak, and the elephant did like this with his trunk [swinging motion], and man went out four meters, with jaw broken. And then how terrible was an elephant, I did not realize. And the guys says, "You know you didn't die because I was there." I saved the life of the man who was all the time with the elephant, saving my life, all the time. It was a miracle. You know? It was a miracle. I saved the life of the guy, he saved my life. I could be with the elephants. I knew the attitude of the elephants was very interesting but I will not tell that here. Every picture changes your life. Why do you think you exist? Why do you think people exist?

Why people exist... Do you have an idea? Is a game of God. [Laughs.] All that is a game. I don't know if people exist. The meaning of existence... We need to clarify. Eh? That's why I'm curious as to what you think. I think that all that is a marvelous dream. And we are in that dream, we are part of that dream. But I think I don't know why we exist. Eh? But I know what for to do what to exist. I know the finality of man. That I know. That I can tell you. Man have three finalities. One finality is to live the same length as the Universe lives. Not to be immortal, but live the millions of years the Universe lives. That we want as a human being. We don't want to die before the Universe dies, we want to die WITH the Universe. That is one. The second is to know all the Universe completely. Microcosmos, macrocosmos, to know the Universe. We want that. And number three, to be the consciousness of the Universe--is the way to be the God of the Universe. That is what we want [shaking his head]. Every one of us wants that. Do you think any of that's possible? It's possible. We are a collective being. We are mortal as individuals. But as collectivity we can be immortal. No? And the human race will do it one day. One day we will not anymore United States, China, Earth. One day that will disappear. We will be human race. And we will be travelling in the cosmos. There we'll be. Is very good we are strangers, is not bad. We are eating the Earth. Why? Because we will destroy the Earth, and be obliged to go out. [Laughter.] And that is good. This is what I think, eh? I tell you I will say what I am thinking. When you think about the possibility of an apocalypse, how do you see that-The apocalypse is in my answer. You know, I read the Bible, a lot of times, completely, New Testament, Old Testament. And the Bible starts the adventure of the human being when he eats the tree of knowledge[interuption: cameracrew distracts Jodorowsky who tells them to continue shooting his interview and not the scenery outside the window]. Oh I was asking you about how you view the apocalypse. Well look, the apocalypse is the ending of history, no? The tree of knowledge, yes, but the tree of eternity, they don't eat. And God say, put out of the Paradise, Adam and Eve, because one day they will eat the tree of eternity, and they will be like gods. Well they go out on the adventure. And in the ending, the apocalypse, with the destruction of everything, Jerusalem celestial comes, and in the center what they have, the tree of eternity. And the humanity, eats the fruit of eternity, and becomes eternal. That is the message of the Bible. The apocalypse is positive and not negative. But in order to come to what we are, we need to clean--our society, our selves. We need to clean, we need to take out everything, not ourselves. In order to do what we are. One more. Is not a movie interview, no? I heard a story that when "Fando and Lis" opened in Mexico there was a riot? They want to kill me. Because Mexico making pictures of cowboys, very awful, very Mexican. And I came to them with a way to do pictures, and

they have a shock. They think it was pornography what I did. That it was a sacrilege. And then they start to want to lynch me at the Acapulco festival and then I need to come in a car, they bring me out to save me. And the director, Emilio Fernandez say, I will kill him. He have killed all ready two guys. And it was true, he could kill me. And that night I sent two whiskey bottles, I sent two whiskey bottles, and he was very happy and we become friends. He forgive me and help me, etc. That was the biggest conflict. Did people want to kill you because of your other movies? No no no, but in Mexico always they cut my pictures. "El Topo" was cut 60 minutes, and the "Holy Mountain" they cut 40 minutes. And when "El Topo" was at the festival of Cannes, they ask my picture for the competition very enthusiastic, Mexico didn't want it to represent Mexico. Not Mexico, is not the Mexican movie. And then I could not be in the contests. But later they agree, they say okay, they understood. I change the mind of the young generation. And then they start to make artistical pictures. They change. I came there as a catastrophe, because I was doing whatever I wanted. That is a bad idea. But here in the United States, when I show "Santa Sangre", they cut "Santa Sangre". I know-Why? That's strange, they didn't cut "El Topo" or "Holy Mountain". I know, they cut "Santa Sangre". Why? In order to make business maybe. You have a sense of censorship here. It's very different here than it is in Europe. It's incredible! It's like it's gone back in time. I went to the video store here, Blockbuster Video, but is awful! They say, the pictures say "Family Version", as in the plane. I never see a picture in the plane because they cut the pictures. Incredible no? Well... It's like that everywhere now. Yes but here is more now. First here was very free, in the 70s, 60s, and now in Europe is free, and here, not. Here is very very now [makes twisting fist], is Protestant mentality. Very very, a lot. Maybe they're afraid of violence, the child who kills the child in the school. But they think is picture that do that. Is not true! It is the bad organization of the society that do that, is not the pictures. But always we need to accuse something. You know, the animal you kill, how do you say in English? You have the animal you kill and say, He is the guilty. Forestter: Scapegoat.

And the movies are now that, no? The child violence is because of the movies, no? Is not true.

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