Meet Alma Jodorowsky: Actress, Chanel Muse and Now, Music Video Director

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Saint-Victoire Clara Luciani Alma Jodorowksy
Clara Luciani, Saint-Victoire, 2019Film still via @almajodorowsky

As French musician Clara Luciani presents the video for her new song Saint-Victoire, here on AnOther, we meet its director – the typically Parisian Alma Jodorowsky

Alma Jodorowsky couldn’t be more typically Parisian: a brunette with a fringed bob, thick eyebrows and a penchant for “marinière” striped jumpers and jeans, she has a deep voice and a relaxed demeanour. She laughs off the epithet of “It girl”, so often used in fashion circles when a pretty young girl catches the public’s attention. “I don’t take it too seriously,” she says, dismissing the subject. After all, Jodorowsky keeps a low profile, feeling more at home watching Billy Wilder films than attending industry parties, and more interested in writing song lyrics than modelling. As such, the versatile French artist and ambassador for Chanel is forging her own path – even if her high-profile bloodline includes paternal grandfather Alejandro Jodorowsky, the cult filmmaker, novelist and comic book writer.

While Jodorowsky says that she didn’t have much of a relationship with him, she does appear to have inherited his ability to traverse a multitude of art forms. At 27, Jodorowsky – one of Chanel’s current global ambassadors – has already tried her hand at acting, pop music and directing and lately confesses to being interested in writing. “I always wanted to be an actress, though, since I can remember,” she says, following parents Brontis Jodorowsky and Valérie Crouzet (both are household names on the French stage). As a child, she would accompany them on tour, before attending the unconventional École Decroly school in the Parisian suburb of Montreuil – “discovering things by yourself and becoming enterprising was more important than traditional grades,” she says – before studying theatre at the Conservatoire de Paris.

“I think my interest in exploring different art forms is not so much mimicking my family, but a discovery process,” Jodorowsky says. “I also think it’s quite a generational thing. The creative market is not as accessible to young people as it used to be, and projects don’t just fall into your lap, so it’s up to you to get out there, and find more different ways you can tell a story.”

After parts in Eyes Find Eyes (2011) and Sea, No Sex & Sun (2012), Jodorowsky secured a role in Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Colour and, later, in the British film Kids in Love alongside Will Poulter, Sebastian de Souza and Cara Delevingne. All the while, she modelled (posing, among others, for Karl Lagerfeld’s La Petite Veste Noire book in 2012) and composed, sang and played keyboards as one half of dream-pop band Burning Peacocks with David Baudart. “It was then that I first became interested in filmmaking. Directing our videos seemed like a natural extension of our songs,” she says. “I was telling the same story as with the music, with different tools.” Her references are varied, ranging from the films of Jacques Demy (“Peau D’Ane changed my life,” she says) to Truffaut, Godard, Éric Rohmer and Elia Kazan. Film is, she says, the most complete art form, “because it encompasses acting, music, visual expression, writing…”

So when she was offered the chance to direct the video for French musician Clara Luciani’s song Sainte-Victoire a few months ago, she jumped at it. “I was really excited to contribute to another musician’s vision, and Luciani’s album has been incredibly influential in the current French pop scene,” she says. Marseille-born Luciani launched her first solo album a year ago, revealing a flair for lyrics and music that has since sparked comparisons with chanson legends like Barbara or Françoise Hardy. In Sainte-Victoire, the themes of Madonna-like suffering and overcoming heartbreak are explored and, behind the camera, Jodorowsky delivers visuals reminiscent of David Lynch – “I used the concept of doppelgängers as a metaphor of using weakness as a strength and embracing the dark sides of your inner self to know yourself better,” she says – and Orson Welles (via a very Lady from Shanghai-esque mirror scene).

Jodorowsky enjoyed the process, “so much so that I’m currently working on two more projects,” she laughs. One of them is a video for Corine, France’s latest up-and-coming disco pop talent; the other, a short film that is still in the writing stages. Meanwhile, Jodorowsky hasn’t forgotten her first love. “I’m playing the lead role in Marc Collin’s newest film, Le Choc du Futur, as an electro music pioneer in the 1970s,” she says – another chance for the multi-disciplinarian to play with several creative expressions simultaneously.