In January 2019, New York's Museo del Barrio canceled a retrospective of the Chilean multimedia artist Alejandro Jodorowsky due to public protest over his claim that he raped the lead actress in his 1970 film El Topo (The Mole). For decades, Jodorowsky's film was synonymous with the cult spectatorship it inspired among its New York audiences, who attended screenings ritualistically. This paper argues for a feminist critique of cult spectatorship that considers Jodorowsky's violence against women as central to the category of cult. By tracing Jodorowsky's evisceration of women's flesh from his early performance practices through his midnight movies, I show how the advent of cult spectatorship marked a historical transition away from classical spectatorship, characterized by absorption and linked to a rational public sphere, toward postmodern spectatorship, characterized by distracted consumption and linked to cybernetic control.
Ritual, Cult Spectatorship, and the Problem of Women's Flesh in Alejandro Jodorowsky's Midnight Movies
Laura Jaramillo is an independent feminist scholar whose research focuses on experimental and counter-cinema practices from modernism to the present in the United States, Latin America, and Spain. She received her PhD from Duke University's Graduate Program in Literature in 2019 and is now at work on a book project about ritual in Spanish-langauge avant-garde cinema after 1968. Her critical and creative writings have been published in Jump Cut, the Brooklyn Rail, and Durham, North Carolina's IndyWeek.
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Laura Jaramillo; Ritual, Cult Spectatorship, and the Problem of Women's Flesh in Alejandro Jodorowsky's Midnight Movies. Feminist Media Histories 1 July 2020; 6 (3): 172–206. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2020.6.3.172
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