David Blyth

David Blyth

In the late 70s, some months before he directed his first feature, Angel Mine, David Blyth went with cameraman John Earnshaw to an Auckland International Film Festival screening of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo, a celebration of the cinema of the unconscious.

"After viewing El Topo, my mind in overdrive, I pronounced I was going to find a way to somehow meet Jodorowsky and discuss this startling and profound film.

Angel Mine was released nationwide to critical derision, questions in Parliament and attacks from morals campaigner Patricia Bartlett. Later at a Sydney screening of Angel Mine, I met director Jim Sharman (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), who invited me to London to observe the making of the sequel, Shock Treatment.

While in London I enquired about Jodorowsky’s whereabouts and discovered he was living in Paris and gave Tarot readings at a shop called Arcane 22. Meeting Jodorowsky was an incredible experience. We discussed 'Cinema of the Unconscious' and he used Tarot to divine what direction I should follow in my life and filmmaking, predicting great things.

Some years later, in 1984, my horror/splatter feature film Death Warmed Up was entered into the Paris Festival of Horror and Science Fiction. I attended and to my amazement found that Alejandro Jodorowsky was head of the Festival Jury and that Death Warmed Up had been awarded the Grand Prix.

Standing on stage alongside Jodorowsky after winning the Festival was one of the highlights of my life and proves that watching world cinema at NZIFF can lead to inspiration and life changing events."

Image: Death Warmed Up