THE DANCE OF REALITY
(directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, 2013)
**** (out of 5)
> Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first feature, FANDO Y LYS, caused an uproar upon its Mexican premiere. In fact, the audience actually rioted! In 1970, he followed-up with the notorious violent psychedelic western arthouse sensation EL TOPO, and three years later, fortified with a million dollar budget from that success, came the fractured insanity of THE HOLY MOUNTAIN. The man is nothing if not an absolutely singular voice.
. His brief but celebrated career, was all but cut short by the debacle of his attempt to bring Frank Herbert’s DUNE to the big screen. The brilliant artist was personally devastated when his awesome vision for the project was embraced by investors on the condition that Alejandro not direct his own masterpiece! After that, he had difficulty attracting the necessary investment for his films. He made TUSK, a children’s film that was little seen. He made SANTA SANGRE, which was bizarre and astonishing, but garnered little attention outside of that same college film circuit. And in 1990 he made a mainstream film with Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif called THE RAINBOW THIEF. Never heard of it! Another box office dud. So he returned to the graphic novels he had been producing all along, from his home in France.
. Two decades later, along came a filmmaker who wanted to make a documentary exploring that amazing film that might have been. JODORWOSKY’S DUNE thrust the dormant storyteller again into the public eye.
> Read my review of this wonderful film @:
. In shooting that painfully wistful film, Alejandro was reunited with his former creative partner and between them, those old creative juices began to churn anew. It’s readily apparent from his enthusiastic interviews in that fascinating documentary, that this octogenarian artist who famously said: “Most directors make films with their eyes; I make films with my testicles”, still had the passion and inspiration to make surprising films. So, after a 23 year hiatus, (finally!), a new Jodorowsky film- and it is a doozy!
. THE DANCE OF REALITY is brash, colorful, and audacious, both serio-comic and neo-surrealist, it is both fact and fiction, literal and figurative- in short, one of the most unusual biographies you will ever see. Crammed with stunning images and packed with a torrent of ideas, this is a rollercoaster of a film takes you through highs and lows of a tortuous childhood in a stylized fantasy mash-up that defies description. Alejandro returns to his small Chilean hometown to recreate the events of his childhood through the eyes of the seasoned artist. The outcome is all grand melodrama: His huge-bosomed mom (who seems to have some difficulty keeping her clothes on), does not talk: she sings her dialogue with operatic gusto. Father is a stern, authoritarian neo-Stalinist malcontent with a nasty temper. The old man Alejandro holds and cradles the young boy Alejandro during these scenes of father-son conflict, as if to protect the sensitive lad from the rage of his bullying father, by cooing soothing poetry and advice into his ear. It’s soulful and resonant stuff. Who wouldn’t want to go back and comfort or advise their younger, invariably foolish selves? Simply: it’s a brilliant and heartbreaking storytelling device.
> There is such a surfeit of inspiration here, so much to delight in, that the viewer begins to hope the crazy force of nature behind THE DANCE OF REALITY lives to 120, making films right up to his last breath… and beyond! Geez- if there’s anyone who could keep making films after his death, it would be Alejandro Jodorowsky!
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