Movie Suggestion XXV: La Danza de la Realidad
Country: Chile/ France – 2013
Genre: Biography | Drama | Fantasy
Directed by: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Starring: Brontis Jodorowsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jeremias Herskovits.
Synopsis: “Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in 1929 in Tocopilla, a coastal town on the edge of the Chilean desert where this film was shot. It was there that Jodorowsky underwent an unhappy and alienated childhood as part of an uprooted family. Blending his personal history with metaphor, mythology and poetry, The Dance of Reality reflects Jodorowsky’s philosophy that reality is not objective but rather a “dance” created by our own imaginations. (Official Website).
“Poetic. Brilliant. Grandiose. Lunatic. You need words like these to describe the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky, the eccentric filmmaker whose surreal films (“El Topo,” “The Holy Mountain” and “Santa Sangre”) and overpowering visual style back up his mythic status. His first film in 25 years, “The Dance of Reality” is a picaresque, bizarre but warmhearted autobiographical reverie of his childhood in Chile. Little Alejandro (Jeremias Herskovits) is tormented by his father Jaime (Brontis Jodorowsky), who wants the boy to be a stoic warrior, and cosseted by his full-bosomed mother, Sara (Pamela Flores), who sings her dialogue opera-style.
All the world seems to him to be a cycle of suffering and relief, endlessly repeated. Jaime is a caricature of a tough guy, relieving himself on his radio when he disagrees with the news reports, and endlessly inventing ways of toughening up his weakling son. With the country in the grip of an economic crisis, Jaime resolves to assassinate the dictator, abandoning his family and hijacking the story with his tragicomic misadventures. There are plenty of Fellini-esque touches here, with clowns, half-nude holy men, a mob of furious amputees, and a view of the world as a sinful, cruel, comic and astounding place. The story is patchy and stitched together, but Jodorowsky’s images can be stunning, and his ability to acknowledge pain without being depressing is a rare gift. The film is a wayward dream but well worth embracing.” (startribune.com)
“Cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain) returned to his native Chile to shoot this autobiographical head trip (2013), which plays like Fellini with its circus performers and fantastic personal reveries but also offers such midnight-movie outrages as a gang of singing amputees and an assassin’s stray bullet blowing the head off a statue of Jesus. As portrayed here, Jodorowsky’s father was a Stalinesque bully who subjected him to all manner of physical punishment, and the white-haired filmmaker often appears onscreen to counsel and comfort his younger self. Yet the movie’s second half registers as an act of compassion, following the father on a bizarre personal odyssey that reduces him to a shambling hobo and teaches him never to take his family for granted. In any case, whatever childhood traumas Jodorowsky may need to exorcise are ultimately subsumed by the movie’s wild invention and carnivalesque cheer.” (chicagoreader.com)
“Jodorowsky, now 85, funnels the interpersonal and political through his revisionist lens. Most of the time, memories are vague and hazy, but he sweeps away the fog and cobwebs of the mind with vibrant color and surrealist, occasionally shocking imagery. Accuracy of memory isn’t important, but interpretation is – and his interpretation is bizarre and graphic, unforgettable and unpredictable.” (MLive.com)
“The mastermind of “El Topo” and “The Holy Mountain” returns to his brain-bleeding roots with his latest effort, a wonderfully surreal journey into memory and misery, jam-packed with all the oddity and incongruity Jodorowsky is known for, still kicking with mischief after all this time away from moviemaking.” (blu-ray.com)
“We may live in reality, but, Jodorowsky argues, we don’t necessarily live wholly inside of it, and are typically given to leaving it entirely. Our relationship with reality is a gentle dance, a gorgeous trip, and a constant reflection. There is a scene at the beginning of Ingmar Bergman’s 1983 masterpiece Fanny & Alexander wherein a young boy looks at a statue in his home, and the statue undeniably moves. How did that happen? I think we all have these bizarre childhood memories we cannot explain. The Dance of Reality takes a small magical moment like that, and expands it, explores it, celebrates it. Did Jodorowsky’s mother really strip nude and wander through the most dangerous bar in town to prove how invisible they both are? Probably not, but that’s the way it happened.
And while this film is a halcyon life reflection that can only be made by a master artist looking back over decades of life experience, don’t think that it’s a teary and sentimental downer. The Dance of Reality bursts with vibrancy and color and life. Heck, it’s even funny. The energy and devotion on display are no lesser than some of the director’s well-known masterworks. It is playful and expansive. This film is awesome in the old sense of the word. It is one of the best films of the year.” (nerdist.com)
August 19, 2014