News from the Locarno Festival

Interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky

Pardo d'onore Swisscom 2016

Foto di Alessio Pizzicannella



Poesía sin fin is by far your most personal movie in many ways, it deals with your own story. How much is fictional and what has been taken from real life?
I wrote a book, La danza de la realidad (The Dance of Reality), which goes from my childhood until today. Now I’m trying to do the movie, but I can’t do the whole book because I should need to live much more than a hundred years! My philosophy on this picture was this: in a movie everything is a lie. The actors are acting someone they are not. Sets, decorations, everything is fake. So I decided to shoot some moments with my reality, I went to shoot exactly in the same places where I lived those experiences. The streets I lived, my father’s store, I found the real places and there I mixed reality and poetry. Another level of reality is the actors: in the movie my father is played by my son Brontis, the young me is my other son Adan. This is reality behind the poetry, every scene is true but is also not true because it’s art. I make art filling the places and the characters with cinema. I stylized everything into beauty.

Talking about working with your sons, there is a stunning scene in which the main character forgives his father. Was it emotional to you to realize that sequence?
Sure, almost everything of those moments was improvised. We had a text but no rehearsals.

In this movie you reserve yourself a small role, a sort of ancient Greek choir commenting the events. Why did you choose to pick it?
My role is not important, it’s just the guy who tells and guides the young me. I just thought about the Spanish Surrealism, when artists often put themselves inside the opera. It’s a kind of biopic, maybe. A little narcissist, egomaniac.

Your character has the best line in the movie, it says: «The brain asks questions, the heart gives answers». Is this true also in real life?
Yes. But there are also the testicles. Or ovaries of course, if you are a woman. With brain you need to ask questions, with heart you’ll have your answers, and with the testicles you do it. Questions, answers, action. Life.

Is there a message you would like the audience will take away watching your own life being represented on the big screen?
Listen, pictures are not literature, they are pictures. You can’t just suggest an idea. What I can show, I won’t say. It’s an optical art first, not like theater. I will not give a philosophical message with words then. In life there are two things: freedom and authenticity. You have freedom, you have millions of neurons, you are perfect. But then you have also prejudices, obstacles made by your family, society and history. And we need to push the limits, step by step, in every way we can. Authenticity means being what you are and not being what the others want you to be. I just wanted to be myself, not what my father wanted me to be...

Your whole opera deals with art, poetry, literature. Is there another book, another novel you would like to adapt in your next movie?
In my next movie I will adapt another story about myself, I’d like to do Son of El topo. After I did El topo I always felt the urge to do a sequel, but I couldn’t because of economical problems. I’m not in the industry, I have always a lot of difficulties to make a picture. It was impossible, but in the last times I decided to make a comic-book about it. I’m making it with José Ladrönn, who lives in Los Angeles. I’m directing it through Skype!     


Adriano Ercolani

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