La Constellation Jodorowsky

3 out of 5

Directed by: Louis Mouchet

A wandering documentary – structured as such perhaps in tribute to the surrealist works of its focus, Alejandro Jodoroswky – that mainly benefits not from these stylistic choices, but from the absorbing presence of Jodoroswky.

While director Louis Mouchet sticks to a vague trajectory, asking Jodo about his background with the Panic movement and then going in to his films (up through The Rainbow Thief, which was his current body of work as of the 1994 date of this doc) and comics, he frequently sidesteps to clips from weekly lectures / demonstrations Jodoroswky had, and also bounces around in the timeline when it somewhat syncs up with whatever tangent Jodo has jumped to. The last section of the documentary is then full immersion in one of these lectures – a demonstration of Alejandro’s “psychomagic” healing – with Mouchet himself being the participant. This is, again, fitting with the sort of circular nature of Jodo’s works, but it feels, firstly, a little sloppy, as Mouchet is too quick to jump to conclusions during his participation, and then rather indulgent, with an overly visually poetic epilogue, of sorts, to the experience. Mouchet also neglects to introduce any of the people he interviews, who, sure, you get through context – Moebius! Peter Gabriel! – but still seems kind of like a dunderheaded way to go about things, and – as with Jodo – allows his interviewees to set the agenda instead of editing the film into something more linear.

But: that damnable Jodorowsky, with his philosophies and tarot readings, is fascinating as heck, a clear reminder of why he has a legacy in print and film, and how “attractive” his beliefs could be, once you’re absorbed into his vision. With a bit of distance, outside the pull of his spell – he says what he thinks; he always has a definitive point of view – the dude is undeniably interesting to listen to, and appreciate the way he quickly updates his points of view to incorporate the varying views of the world around him… although I am curious how his very stringent male vs. female beliefs have evolved in the past few years of gender fluidity and whatnot.

Because Mouchet’s docu doesn’t really add to anything that can’t be picked up from Jodorowsky’s works, or even present it in an especially digestible form, it’s certainly not required viewing. But I do think it’s good to be able to map a personality to the man behind these works, seeing him speak to his beliefs, and I imagine that can be a good trigger for helping to confirm if you want to explore what he’s done, or decide, once and for all, if you love or hate him.