Today: April 16, 2024

Director Alejandro Jodorowsky

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre has been labelled the cult film to end all cult films.

Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre has been labelled the cult film to end all cult
Disturbing and inspired in equal measure,
Jodorowsky’s tale of murder and madness unravels like some unwholesome piece of
fringe theatre, directed by Freud and Fellini. Never given a full cinema
release, bootleg copies have circulated among cineastes since it first shocked
movie-goers in the 1980s. This November, film fans will finally have the chance
to judge for themselves whether Santa Sangre is a work of wild, unfettered
genius or something more profound. Paula Hammond chatted to the director about
his work and the film which made his name a byword for challenging cinema.

a filmmaker what’s more important to you – exploring ideas or telling stories?
(Can you ever do one without the other?)

There is no ‘more important’. Everything is
important. In our bodies, there is no major organ or major cell. We are a whole. The film is a whole,
where history, performances, music, noise, colours, must be deeply explored.

of your films have you been most satisfied with and why?

Of which of my children I am most satisfied? I
cannot choose. I love all. In a different way, but without limits. Why? Because
they are my work. I look at them as babies in my belly and my soul. I touch
them with orgasm. They are an indelible part of my memory.

other filmmakers have influenced you?

None. I’m a mutant.

rarely use big name actors. Why is that?

I hate the divos and divas trade. They are hens
with many feathers, but little meat. They infect the play with their huge egos.

was said that during the filming of Fando Y Lis, the scenes of blood drinking
and violence were real. Is that true? And if so why did you choose to do that?

At that time I was exploring theatre. It was
created at the same time as the American Happenings – sons of sculpture and
painting. My “ephemeral panics”, were improvised theatre, without
text, with the destruction of objects, corporal punishment, the use of jellies,
fire, viscera and meat of cattle, etc. This experience formed me as a director.
Applying this on Fando y Lis broke with all known forms of cinema.

Incal, which you wrote, is one of Europe’s most celebrated comics. Can you tell
us a little about it?

It is considered a classic of the European
comedy, having been drawn by the great Moebius.
It was revolutionary at the time. Its shape, its themes of science fiction, the
inclusion of esoteric symbols, alchemical, cabalistic, etc. … It was one of
the first graphic novels.

you ever consider filming The Incal?

We tried to make it, but a French commercial
filmmaker, Luc Besson kidnapped
it (thanks to the collaboration of
the Moebius traitor) and burnt the theme.

did the idea for Santa Sangre come from?

Goyo Cardenas, a notorious murderer of 17 women,
who I met at a café in Mexico. They declared him mad and he spent ten years in
an insane asylum. He declared that he had been healed. When I asked him if he had any regrets,
he told me that he had forgotten everything. He is now a lawyer. He writes
novels, is married and has two beautiful daughters. I thought then that
probably this was redemption. I created Santa Sangre to show how the problems
of parents could produce a crazy son. And how that dude, love child, could
redeem himself.

it true that you worked on Santa Sangre virtually for free in return for
complete creative freedom?

So. Until today I didn’t make a penny from this
film. AND I think that I’ll win.

Roger Ebert said that Santa Sangre was unusual in that it carried a moral
message of genuinely opposing evil, rather than celebrating it, like most contemporary
horror films. Is that a fair assessment?

So. In horror movies, the audience enjoys guts,
blood and evil. It is a catharsis. But that catharsis will not cure, but
empties the spirit. I tried to show evil and how to combat it, heal it.

Sangre is fully restored and out on DVD and Blu-ray on 5th November 2012 from Mr
Bongo Films.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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