Some people might see Endless Poetry and want to ask you, “What is poetry?” But I would rather ask, “What is autobiography?”
The film is certainly autobiographical. Chile was so far away, they were selling copper and powder for the guns. In the film, there is joy, but there is some sadness too. But, I like what you are feeling! In the film, you appear behind your own son and tell him, “I am the man you will be. I swear I am starting! That is why I [tried] to become a poet. But the wine was very chic! You’d be guilty if you lived as others want you to live.” To me, the film contends with how fathers, or father figures, attempt to define our lives for us without realizing they are denying us the freedom to do so ourselves. For myself, that is everything. Not to lose my illusion. I may not have 100 pictures when I have 100 years, but I will do it, if I don’t die. People will not like it.” And if you do what they say, you are not free. Is drunkenness or suicide, in some way, a path to freedom? They come up in this film and in many places throughout your work. But once he gets going, the years disappear, his voice rises, his eyes widen, and it becomes clear that Alejandro Jodorowsky is far from finished examining this collective dream that some call real life. So, why not try to live in another way? Everything will finish. It also allows you to go back into your life to say goodbye to your father again, maybe in a different way than it happened in real life. So, I paint with my own style, but everything is true. For an artistic picture, I make it like a poet. I am sure of it. Tell me about your fascination with butterflies. Maybe what you say is real, because every person feels differently when they see the [film]. An artist searches for freedom. Whether or not he has found it is not the point, let alone what “it” even is. You are not guilty for living as you do. Endless Poetry allows you to visually express that freedom. I start with reality. I went to the same store where my father worked. Listen. Take Rembrandt or Van Gogh and say, “Paint the street.” He will paint the street, the real street. They say life is an illusion, you know? It is a real family. It was more chic than milk! I said to myself, “I will try the impossible. You can use the intellect like a guide, but the film is about feelings. We are human beings, and we can have a mutation. In some sense, this also reflects your career, but the straight line you’ve carved out as an artist has turned into a circle with Endless Poetry. You see? The poets Alejandro (Adan Jodorowsky) and Enrique (Leandro Taub) link arms and decide to set out on their path, announcing: “We’re poets. They decide for the child whatever they want them to do. But every painting will be different because of their particular style. [Laughs.] At 88 years old, I tell you, life is fantastic. But I did it because I wanted the impossible. In another part of my brain, I have 1,000 years. We need to change the business. Money is not the goal of my pictures. I regret that. You are a masterwork! Everything in that world is like my life, but also not. When I say [to my father in the film] “I want to be a poet,” I am saying I want to be free. What I am doing with this picture is getting free of the movie industry. It was a painful experience. We don’t have to do anything!” They proceed in a straight line, walking through anything that attempts to obstruct their path, including buildings. I am an adolescent. You are an artist and the producers will say, “I don’t know. But this film is also your life, so maybe it counts just as much. Listen, I was not making pictures for 22 years because I was economizing to [be able to] do the picture with freedom. I hope for you also! It’s a true tale in the artistic realm. Why not change your way of thinking? To that, I say, “If life is an illusion, I want to live in the most beautiful illusion!” And that, I think, is the freedom of poetry — to live in my illusion, not a dictator’s, or a person who takes your freedom, but to live in a beautiful illusion. There are people in Endless Poetry who commit suicide and get drunk. You are the man I was […] You will learn to die in happiness. What makes you sad? Yes, happiness is to be what you are and not what the other wants you to be. In the end, it is a film about fathers and father figures, whether Jodorowsky’s own, or Chilean dictator Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, both of whom played a part in the young Jodorowsky’s flight to France to pursue his dream of becoming a poet and, above all else, to be free. One day, it will die. If you are familiar with Jodorowsky and his work, it is likely because you have seen his most famous film The Holy Mountain (1973), or you’re a fan of the science-fiction writer Frank Herbert and entered his orbit via the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013). We all need to change our way. But Jodorowsky has provided multiple entry points to fanaticism along his lengthy career, playing a kind of pied piper to self-styled philosophical cosmologists and attracting diverse devotees — some who simply admire his films, others who consider him a spiritual guide and seek him out in Paris for tarot readings, and still others who just dig graphic novels and read The Incal, his celebrated collaboration with artist Jean “Moebius” Giraud. That’s why I don’t get old. Then, they close into themselves and [are] reborn beautiful. The picture is too crazy. Only the bandits take the cocaine, not the artists. For me, it is an easy age. What he is “starting” appears to be an attempt to organize the fact of his life into a kind of dream — the way, it would seem, he prefers to see everything, including the totality of his 88 years. History does that. Every day someone was saying, “Where is the party? Yes! You have the same age. The universe — to make you and me and the others — it’s not 400, not 4,000, it is millions of years! The soul when you are born is always the same. For me, I really like that idea. When I was searching for poetry in Chile, at that time, I was 19 to 23 [years old]. That was really my life. I went to all of the same places where I lived [growing up]. I was very young. That is a beautiful question. And my son is played by my youngest son, and he is like me. I am a child. Every scene was, in a way, more real than it was in life. I was fighting not to sell myself. The drunks in the film appear to be sleeping. Society also does that. ¤
GREGG LAGAMBINA: There is a scene in Endless Poetry that is reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. Next, I will prepare three pictures. Industrial movies are like that. It is also reminiscent of your first film, Fando y Lis (1968), when Lis laments her paralysis and Fando says that she doesn’t have to worry, that he can take her anywhere she wants to go, and they, too, set out on their own path. But money is also central in the film, especially when young Alejandro is asked to help count and clean the bills his father brings home, and later on when he breaks into his parent’s house to steal from his father’s cash box. It was too painful. I am still alive. At 88, I am starting! One day we will do it. Not only will I die — all of my friends, my city, even the planet. One day I will die. And I came to Paris, and I started a new life, and I [got] free. We need to change the wars. That does not change. The error of parents is they want a child, but they don’t see the child. We are not free. His most recent film, Endless Poetry, is this summer’s anti-blockbuster and a continuation of its autobiographical predecessor, The Dance of Reality (2013). There was always a party. Inside, we need to be free. I am not immortal. Endless Poetry is a film as much about Jodorowsky’s own life as it is a guide for outwitting those who have predetermined our lives for us, before we’ve had the chance to evaluate all available options and to chart our own course. I’m very surprised you are making me do an interview, because I am thinking, “Nobody wants to see that!” But I will do it anyway. I hope so. As he nears 90, Jodorowsky contains more intellectual curiosity and artistic yearning than most poets a quarter of his age. Poetry is buried inside of yourself, in order for you to be reborn in a better way. I needed to learn how to be free. What happiness!”
Gregg LaGambina is a writer living in Los Angeles. No marijuana, no cocaine. I did what I wanted. ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY: When you make your art, you don’t know what you are doing, really. We need to change the family. We need to change the political. You hope? That is terrible for me. The human being is the most beautiful creation of the cosmos, of the universe. It is like a painting. Every morning, I say, “Oh, what happiness! Now, I just deal with it myself. I never [saw] them again. At one point, Alejandro weeps and calls it a “harmless fit of sadness.” We’ve talked about poetry, freedom, and happiness. Money was an obstacle you overcame to make this movie, by calling on your fans to help finance its completion. I finished with my father and my mother. It is real! I was waiting in suffering for 22 years, but I did it. ¤
Image courtesy of ABKCO Films. The schools do that also. The country was completely drunk, because of World War II. It is coming like a dream. AUGUST 25, 2017
ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY has spent 88 years on this earth looking for something. Maybe I will have nothing, but I will have passion and I will try to do what I want to do.” I was fighting not to lose myself. [Laughs.] All of Chile was drunk from six o’clock. Jodorowsky himself has been a mime, a puppeteer, a poet, an actor, a director, a novelist, a playwright, a musician, and anything else that might provide him with the tools necessary to access something beyond our humdrum everydayness — to tilt the world just slightly and see it all from a new (and maybe better) perspective. At that time, drugs were not in fashion. They see themselves. Where is the party?” There was a sexual revolution. The work, in our life, is to live all our years at once. We need to change a lot of things! Maybe they are dreaming of something better too. She was the soul before you were born, and she will continue to be when you die. I am a living human being. For the costumes, the set — everything is going through the mind of the artist. Everything you see in this picture is true. During a recent tour of the United States to promote the release of Endless Poetry, Jodorowsky felt some of the unfortunate side effects of age, rescheduling our conversation twice in order to rest up for yet another evening of introducing his new film to an eager audience. I will tell you that the butterfly is a worm. I don’t want the other to put up the money. It took me years to learn that. So, I tried to fight to live inside the illusion and it was very, very difficult. [Laughs.] I will do it to promote the picture! It was big business, so in the evening all the people were drunk. When he tells you that he is only just starting out, the joy in his voice provides proof of that conviction. I did that. I am a man of 40 years, or 80 years. It was [filmed on] the same street where I lived [in Chile]. In some ways, I am still a little boy of eight years. When I went to Paris [as a young man] to live this beautiful illusion, it was clear: the life, the world, it is not illusion. It’s family. It did not come to me in one day. In this film, my father is played by my oldest son. But not in life. When you feel old, you get old. What is the greatest difference between your 88-year-old self and your eight-year-old self?