ROME — Influential multihyphenate Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose works include quintessential 1970 midnight movie “El Topo,” fantasy film “The Holy Mountain,” and more recently “The Dance of Reality,” will be honored by the Locarno Film Festival with its Pardo d’onore Swisscom lifetime achievement award.
The Chilean-born film and stage director, comic book writer, poet and puppeteer, who is 87, is expected to attend the Swiss fest and hold a public onstage conversation on Aug. 12.
Locarno, which is dedicated to indie and cutting-edge fare, runs Aug. 3-13. The fest will announce its lineup on July 13.
A son of Russian immigrants exiled to Chile, Jodorowsky began his artistic career as a puppeteer, poet and theater director. He moved to France when he was 23 and joined Marcel Marceau’s mime troupe.
He subsequently moved to Mexico where “he revolutionized the arts world, creating the avant-garde Theater de Mexico,” according to a Locarno statement.
Jodorowsky’s first feature film “Fando and Lys,” in 1968, was followed by “El Topo,” in 1970, which became a smash hit as one of the first late-night titles programmed in U.S. movie theatres.
Subsequent films include “The Holy Mountain,” in 1973, which bolstered his status as a cult director; the 1989 genre-defeating “Santa Sangre,” in 1989; autobiographical musical “The Dance of Reality,” which screened at Cannes in 2013; and “Endless Poetry,” which screened at Cannes this year. These four titles will be shown at Locarno as part of the tribute.
Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian praised Jodorowsky in a statement as being “an artist whose work goes far beyond the boundaries of film and, in keeping with the traditions of the avant-garde, makes no separation between life and the creation of art.”
Previous recipients of the Locarno nod include Samuel Fuller, Jean-Luc Godard, Ken Loach, Sidney Pollack, Abbas Kiarostami, William Friedkin, Jia Zhang-ke, Werner Herzog, Agnes Warda and Michael Cimino and Marco Bellocchio.