Alejandro Jodorowsky is known to English-speaking audiences as the director and star of the cult film El Topo (1970). His other films (of which there are only a few) are lesser known, and his work outside of film is hardly known at all in America. But Jodorowsky is also a stage director, composer, psychotherapist, mime, and author. His books deal with the tarot and other matters mystical, and he has also published some thirty graphic novels.
Born in Chile, to parents of Jewish extraction, he lived and worked for many years in Mexico where he studied under a Japanese Zen master. He now makes his home in France, where he stages elaborate psychodramas and offers free tarot readings. In short, Jodorowsky seems impossible to categorize.
But there is a common thread running throughout his life and work, and that thread is a spiritual quest. Jodorowsky might, therefore, plausibly be described as a lover of wisdom, less plausibly as a “mystic.” All that Jodorowsky does—even the comic books and the mime—can be understood as playing a role in this quest. This is a man seeking enlightenment not through religion or philosophy, but primarily through art. As anyone knows who has met him or seen him interviewed, this is also a man who is wonderfully, hilariously strange—and wise.