115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

La historia del pueblo judío: un modelo estructural para las bio-ficciones de Alejandro Jodorowsky

Henri-Simon Blanc-Hoang, Defense Language Institute

En mi trabajo, explico cómo el conjunto de las “bio-ficciones” de Alejandro Jodorowsky se estructuran según las tres “edades” de las Escrituras sagradas judías. Sus novelas generacionales corresponden a la “edad de la creación-destrucción,” sus últimas películas encarnan la “edad histórica” y su “autobiografía imaginaria” es el equivalente de la “edad temporal-orgánica.”

Proposal: 

Because of its very eclectic nature, it has become a challenge for scholars to find a unifying theme in the work of Chilean-French Jewish director-playwright-novelist Alejandro Jodorowsky.  Earlier critics limited the scope of their research to the form/structure of his films. Later postmodern theorists gave a partially satisfying interpretation of his most famous graphic novel (El Incal, 1980-1998) by drawing parallels between this text and the work of other contemporary Latin American writers/performers. In my own exegesis, I have addressed the issue of messianic impossibility as a recurring leitmotiv in Jodorowsky’s oeuvre.

My new paper focuses on the organizational form of the author’s bio-fictions. I explain in my essay that the various means of expression (generational novels, testimony, neo-Surrealist films) that Jodorowsky relies on to produce his last opus reflect the wide array of genres that make up the configuration of the Jewish Scriptures. Indeed, the Hebrew Bible encompasses three “eras”: the “Age of Creation-Destruction” (Genesis), the “Historical Age” (Exodus, Kings, prophets, etc…) and the “Temporal/Organic Age” (Law, especially Mosaic Law and the Torah) that still applies in the religious life of contemporary Jews. The same configuration that constitutes the Hebrew Bible is used in Jodorowsky’s bio-fictions, the cycle of which he began twenty years ago, with the novelized family saga about his imagined Sephardic and Azkhenasi ancestors: Donde mejor canta un pájaro (1992) and El niño del jueves negro (1999). This duology was followed ten years later by an “autobiografía imaginaria”: La danza de la realidad (2003). In recent years, Jodorowsky adapted these two separate parts of his works to the big screen with La danza de la realidad (2014) and Poesía sin fin (2016).

I first describe how in his generational novels, Jodorowsky finds his inspiration in the memory of his imaginary ancestors. Since the marvelous dominates this narrative, these texts would be the equivalent of the mythological “Age of Creation-Destruction” found in the Hebrew Bible. I later demonstrate that Jodorowsky’s last two films, the plots of which include him as a boy, as a teenager and as a young man, are the equivalent of the “Historical Age” of the Jewish Scriptures. I finally show that his testimony/autobiografía imaginaria, which includes instructions for his own philosophy of self-introspection, coincides with the prescriptions found in Mosaic Law and the Torah, i.e.: the “Temporal/Organic Age”.

In my conclusion, I explain that far from being a random choice, the separate “genres” that Jodorowsky chooses for each tome of his unified work allow him to not only reach a different (and faithful) public each time, but also to control every version of his fictionalized biography/biographical fiction, which in itself constitutes a coherent system beneath its apparent chaos.