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MAD Cinema Presents the First American Retrospective of the Cult Auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky in September

New York, NY (August 18, 2010)

The cult cinema of the 81-year-old, Chilean-born filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky emerges from the underground at the Museum of Arts and Design this fall in its latest film series, running from September 23—specially timed for the fall equinox—through October 8, 2010. Influenced by his work as a pantomime, theater director, philosopher, playwright, comic book artist, as well as his spiritual training in Zen Buddhism, shamanism, and the occult, Jodorowsky’s films eschew traditional narratives, arcs and character tropes. The six films showcased in “Blood into Gold: the Cinematic Alchemy of Alejandro Jodorowsky” depict dream worlds, brimming with symbols and steeped in mysticism, floating and colliding with the Surrealist concepts of anarchy and randomness—filtered through the hazy, acid-colored lens of psychedelia. At once jarring, beautiful, baffling, alluring, and absurd, Jodorowsky’s work
pushes the medium’s boundaries—provoking the audience’s intellect, senses, and emotions. Abkco Music & Records joins MAD as the co-presenter of this series. 

The MAD Theater will screen six films from his oeuvre, including:

• Fando y Lis (Fando and Lis) (1967), the journey of Fando and his paraplegic girlfriend through a desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape in search of the mythical city of Tar, caused a full-scale riot when it premiered at the Acapulco Film Festival;

• El Topo (The Mole) (1970), an allegorical tale about a violent gunfighter and his quest for enlightenment, this film is littered with bizarre characters and religious imagery, while being highly regarded as a classic Acid Western;

• Holy Mountain (1973), Jodorowsky plays the Alchemist in this multi-part symbolic story centered around the ascent on a mountain that merges Heaven and Earth, funded by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, an underground hit that screened in many international film festivals;

• La Cravate (1957), the director’s first work, once thought lost, is a silent short based on a Thomas Mann novella.

“It’s my hope that this series highlights the diverse approaches to narrative cinema that are too often left out of cultural dialogue. Jodorowsky’s films force viewers to break from the traditional methods of viewing the world. Watching Jodorowsky’s work is a process in itself. By introducing a new audience to this great innovator, I hope to give them the rare opportunity to see filmmaking that transforms their expectations,” says Jake Yuzna, MAD’s Manager of Public Programs.

On Saturday afternoon, September 25, Jodorowsky will lead an intimate master class in the museum. This seminar-style program will provide insight into Jodorowsky’s thinking on the power of film and art, with attention given to art-making as a means to personal and spiritual enlightenment.

In honor of Jodorowsky’s first American retrospective, on the opening night of the film series, Debbie Harry, Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters, and the performance artist Rob Roth will host an official after party, featuring a light show by Light by Seth Kirby + Brock Monroe (Joshua Light Show) and music by Cameron Cooper and Michael Magnan, at the Hudson Hotel, not far from the museum at West 58th and 9th Avenue.

The filmmaker was born to Russian immigrant parents in Tocopilla, Chile, in 1929. As a young man he studied poetry and philosophy in college, but dropped out. He joined a circus, performing as a mime, and while on tour in France, met André Breton, whose Surrealist vision influenced his own artistic views. In the 1960s, Jodorowsky moved to Mexico, where he encountered a Zen Buddhist monk, Ejo Takata, and embarked on a lifelong journey of spiritual awakening and enlightenment—important themes found throughout his films. He eventually conceived his own theology called psychomagic, which blends many of his previous mystical and religious practices. He settled in France in 1990, although he claims “I don’t live in France, I live in myself.” Until recently, his films were only available through bootleg copies, as they never enjoyed proper release.

They have nevertheless influenced and informed numerous artists, from counterculture personalities like Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper to filmmakers Samuel Fuller and David Lynch.

Movie tickets are: $10 general admission, $7 for MAD museum members and students with valid ID. The MAD Theater is located on the below street level of MAD at 2 Columbus Circle at 59th Street. For more information about the series, go to

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