Thursday, August 11, 2022

Psychomagic: a Healing Art


Written, directed, and starring Alejandro Jodorowsky, Psychomagic: a Healing Art is a documentary film in which the famed cult filmmaker explore the world of psychomagic and its practices in how helps people. The film explore a form of healing that Jodorowsky is part of as he helps people through their problems through this art of healing. The result is a fascinating and riveting film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Throughout his life away from the world of theatre, art, and film, one of the passions of Alejandro Jodorowsky is through psychomagic as it is a form of therapy that allows those who have been traumatized by an event or something that’s been passed down from generations to act through the unconscious and allow themselves to confront it by any means necessary. Its methods are unconventional as Jodorowsky has been doing a lot of these practices since the 1990s and so on while also doing free lectures from time to time as he uses it to help people. In this documentary, Jodorowsky showcases the usage of psychomagic through a series of different people seeking help as well as how elements of trauma and healing are shown throughout many of his own films. Among those he profiles include a man still reeling from the abuse of his late father, a woman feeling unloved and fear of becoming a mother, a couple going through trauma, a man with a stuttering problem dating back to childhood, an 88-year old woman suffering from severe depression, and others dealing with many traumas and struggles.

With the aid of his wife/cinematographer Pascale Montandon-Jodorowsky, Jodorowsky keeps a lot of the imagery straightforward while also not allowing himself to be involved in a lot of these testimonials. Instead, he is overseeing the therapeutic process that occurs where the first story has the man dealing with his father’s abuse be buried underground except for his head where he is covered by a plastic bowl with holes so he can breathe. A woman had to strip down as if she’s in another woman’s womb as a way to become a baby and yet feel loved where she would become pregnant months later with an air of excitement and optimism. A woman who had left Mexico 8 years after the suicide of her fiancée on the day they were supposed to be wed makes a return to the country and to the building where he killed himself as she would wear a wedding dress to a church and then go sky-diving.

These methods aren’t just cathartic in the way people deal with trauma as Jodorowsky isn’t trying to knock down the ideas of psychotherapy as he does see its benefits in helping people. His approach is more physical but also from within as it’s more about the heart and human emotions rather than something cerebral where he uses clips of many of his own films as examples. Even as an Australian man living in Paris who is estranged from his parents and siblings is given a chance to express his anger by smashing pumpkins with a sledgehammer with hearts inside them as he would mail them into a box and send it to his family. These are unconventional ideas where the film also feature some footage from other events such as two twin brothers just acting out their sadness as it was filmed in the 1990s while one story about a woman dealing with thyroid cancer goes to a lecture by Jodorowsky where he and the people in attendance help her through a form of a mantra. It’s not about curing someone but rather find ways to get that person to allow themselves to open up and confront these traumas and then be able to live their life the next day.

Editors Amanda Fawn Holmes, Giuseppe Lupoi, and Maryline Monthieux do excellent work in not just using footage from Jodorowsky’s own films but also his own lectures and specials relating to psychomagic as it is largely straightforward while sound editor Quentin Romanet captures many of the conversations as well as audio excerpts from Jodorowsky’s lectures. The film’s music by Adan Jodorowsky is amazing for its somber orchestral score that help play into the drama while also utilizing classical music and music pieces that he created from a few of his father’s films into the soundtrack.

Psychomagic: a Healing Art is a phenomenal film from Alejandro Jodorowsky. While many of the therapeutic methods in the film might not be for everyone, it is a film that does explore the work that Jodorowsky puts in towards this strange art of healing as well as how it is able to help people. Even as they have to confront their own traumas and struggles head on while getting the chance to live another day. In the end, Psychomagic: a Healing Art is a sensational film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Alejandro Jodorowsky Films: La Cravate - Teatro sin fin - Fando y Lis - El Topo - The Holy Mountain - Tusk (1980 film) - Santa Sangre - The Rainbow Thief - The Dance of Reality - Endless Poetry

Related: Jodorowsky's Dune - The Auteurs #59: Alejandro Jodorowsky

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