Alejandro Jodorowsky is still a wizard. After years of being relegated to the cult film circuit with films like El Topo and The Holy Mountain, the 88-year-old writer and director is back with a vengeance with Endless Poetry. Jodo, as he’s known among disciples like Kanye, Nicolas Winding Refn, and Marilyn Manson, took a 23-year break between 1989’s Santa Sangre and his first in a series of biopics, The Dance of Reality. Between Dance and Poetry, it’s clear the tarologist is working through some serious family stuff in between meetings with poets, surrealists and artists, and a lush love affair with a flame-haired poet played by Pamela Flores. With son Brontis Jodorowsky playing Alejandro’s father Jaime and son Adan as Alejandro (got that?), with occasional appearances by Jodo himself, his new film Endless Poetry is truly a family affair.
Playboy: I’m curious how these two movies–The Dance of Reality and Endless Poetry–were acts of psychomagic to heal you, to heal you and your father and your sons.
Who doesn’t have problems with his father and his family? Healing my family problems, they will see we can heal the person. First, my father [was played by] one of my sons. [Playing] myself, it was one of my other sons. We shot in the place where these things happened… For Endless Poetry, we went to Santiago, Chile. My father had a store on a worker’s street, very poor, and I went there and made the store [in the movie] exactly where my father’s store was. I shot the scene of my house exactly there – that was my house! You are seeing my house. The real places, I did – that was my psychomagic act.
Another psychomagic act–like an atomic psychological bomb, for us–was in the casting. One of my sons, who played my father, didn’t speak to me for a year. Brontis. At the end. Because it was so shocking! One of my sons [was] playing his grandfather. The other son played his father–[they were] playing my father and me. And they were thinking they are actors [acting] but I played myself…I really forgave my father. I was crying for my father, for real, really. It was a real act. That is psychomagic. It is an art with something you never do in real life.
Playboy: Why do you think there’s been such a rise in interest in the tarot and the occult recently?
I did that because when I started with the tarot 50 years ago. I started with the tarot and everyone says, that is for crazy persons, that is for hippies. It has nothing to do with science. It’s ridiculous. [But] I knew something was there. And then I started to give lessons, to write books. You don’t see the future–instead use it to [get] a message from your unconscious, and every day it grows… The world now needs a new way of thinking, because the old way is making disorder–wars and poverty. We need to change it. We need to change the ways we think… The reality they show us is not the reality. We need to discover a new way to think, and the tarot can do it…
Playboy: I love it. I’d love to go there someday and get my cards read to you.
I have something to say to you. We’re doing an interview for Playboy, no? I say, what will I say to Playboy? If you see my film, we have a lovely story, incredible, with the person with the red hair. I am showing love that is different than what Playboy shows to us. The pin-ups, it’s not the reality. The reality is, I don’t love a woman because she’s beautiful, she’s beautiful because I love her! And then I show it–I don’t show in my picture actresses that are this kind of pin-up girl. I show a real person, a real person who can love themselves for the total person. And the sexual relations, yes! But I show the relation with the hair, I show the relation with the soul. It’s another thing – a man and a woman are human beings. We love a human being.
That I need to say to Playboy.
Playboy: I love the character of Sara (the love interest), and it’s so great to see a voluptuous, beautiful woman being loved and admired and seduced onscreen, because you don’t see a lot of that. Or the woman who’s menstruating, and they have sex. People do that! It’s real.
I show that – listen, this dwarf, this woman [Julia Avendaño], I say, listen, I don’t know how you make love. She said, I make it. My husband is one meter and 80; he’s a big guy! They have a child. [Then I asked how they made love] and she said to me, I’ll show you a picture. I’ll do it, but you pay me twice! I say, I pay you twice! You do it! Okay.
The next morning we need to shoot, and the personnel came to say to me, “We have a problem. She doesn’t want to do it.” Well, why? We have an accord. No, she doesn’t want to do it. I say, “Tell me, why don’t you want to play?” “But I have my menstruation.” I say, “Fantastic! That is reality! We will show you have that. I will shoot!” And I say thank you because it is a gift from God. Because I want to break prejudice. Why [wouldn’t] I want to show that? But in psychomagic, you go on the Internet, you would find painting made with menstrual blood… You have, on the Internet, the liberation of that. That is psychomagic.