Archive for September 25th, 2009

by Sam Juliano

     Few directors in the cinema have split art house audiences and film critics as severely as Chilean-born Alejandro Jodorowky.  While his admirers have issued rapturous praise, even going as far as to declare him as the heir apparent of Luis Bunuel and the master of surrealist cinema, his detractors have condemned him as a drug-abusing pretentious hack whose work emanated from his own psychedelic drug experiences.  Jodorowsky’s career began in the 50’s with stints as a puppeteer, circus performer, a mime, a playright, novelist, comic book author and finally as a film director.  His famous early films, El Topo and The Holy Mountain were frustrating works, but they still displayed complex and inspired visuals and were impossible to dismiss. The heavily surrealist Fando and Lis again was a challenging work, but was partially ponderous.

     In the early 80’s the director studied a new kind of therapy known as “psycho-magic,” which combines Jungian psychoanalysis with varying degrees of mysticism and superstition that talk to the subjects’s unconscious.  This in turn is contingent upon the belief in a “family unconscious”  with prior familial relationships -going back a number of generations – controlling crrent relationships.  Jodorowsky stated: “If I want to understand myself I have to understand my family tree, because I am permanently possessed, as in voodoo.  Even when we cut ties with our family, we carry it.  In our unconscious, the persons are always alive.  The dead live with us.  Exploring the family tree means engaging in a fierce battle with the ‘monster’ like a nightmare.”  These new revelations would form the basis of what must now be considered as his masterpiece, Santa Sangre (1989), a work he is reputed to have directed almost for nothing in return for full creative control. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Heimat (no 6)

heimat1 copy

(West Germany 1984 923m) DVD1/2

Aka. Heimat: Eine Deutsche Chronik/Homeland

A 1938 film, starring Zarah Leander

p/d  Edgar Reitz  w  Edgar Reitz, Peter Steinbach  ph  Gernot Roll  ed  Heidi Handorf  m  Nikos Mamangakis  art  Franz Bauer

Marita Breuer (Maria Wiegand-Simon), Michael Lesch (young Paul Simon), Dieter Schaad (older Paul Simon), Karin Kienzler (Pauline Simon), Eva Maria Bayerswaltes (older Pauline Simon), Rüdiger Weigang (Eduard Simon), Karin Rasenack (Lucie), Peter Harting (Hermann Simon), Jörg Richter (young Hermann Simon), Gertrude Bredel (Katharina Simon), Willi Berger (Mathias Simon), Johannes Lobewein (Alois Wiegand), Kurt Wagner (Glasisch-Karl), Eva Marie Schneider (Marie-Goot), Manfred Kühn (Wirt), Hans-Jürgen Schaltz (Wilfried Wiegand), Jörg Hube (Otto Wohlleben), Sabine Wagner (Martha), Helga Bender (Martina), Arno Lang (Kröber),

Just think for a minute of that magical photo library in Shooting the Past and let’s assume a fiction within the fiction and make this proposition; if there was a small cardboard box on a shelf in that establishment marked Schabbach, Hunsrück, Germany (c.1919-1982), could the photographs therein, many of them taken by local resident Eduard Simon, have told the story that Edgar Reitz and his collaborators here unfold?  The answer is of course negative, and yet having seen the lives taking place, each of the photographs we see in the narrated recaps at the beginning of individual episodes strikes a memory, which of course sums up the dual magic of photographs; instant remembrance for those who witnessed, and a source of much fantasy for those who do not. (more…)

Read Full Post »