Jodorowsky Contends with the Surrealist Ego
By Maria Goldverg
posted: 04-22-11
A still from the performance of Sacramental Melodrama.
Image Source

Those who are not yet familiar with Alejandro Jodorowsky's works would do well to check them out. His surreal, and Surreal, films have always artfully, and pleasurably, wreaked havoc upon their viewers' minds. They are always monstrous to behold and can be absolutely devastating to watch and enjoy. His infamous masterpieces, El Topo (1970) and Holy Mountain (1973) became cult classics almost immediately upon release, however limited those releases may have been.

AnOther magazine recently caught up with the now aged and legendary filmmaker and recalled the collage-performance attended by surrealist Marcel Duchamp among others in Paris, "Sacramental Melodrama," performed on March 24th, 1965. "Sacramental Melodrama" starred Jodorowsky himself and featured such extravagant and grotesque histrionics as Jodorowsky slitting the throats of two geese and taping two snakes onto his chest. It was a notorious masterpiece of Jodorowsky's Panic Movement, a name inherited from Pan the god of goats, which sought to reconstitute the 'shock' of the surreal performance. Surrealism had become, simply, too bourgeois.

Though he dissolved the Panic Movement in 1973, Jodorowsky remembered Panic in his brief interview during which he criticized surrealism for being too preoccupied with "extreme individualism," the "ego." This may very well be an accurate observation. Just take a look at Duchampís definition of a ready-made from Andre Breton's Surrealist Dictionary: "an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist." Duchamp, the artist, needed little more than a signature to accomplish this in Fountain (1917). "Today," Jodorowsky contends, "individualism is over." I, if reluctantly, can't help but disagree.

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