June 30th, 2014 | Film | 0 Comments
Jodorowsky’s latest film, The Dance Of Reality, really isn’t much different from the rest of his best-known films, especially The Holy Mountain. A lot of the trademarks of Jodorowsky are present in abundance: deformed and disfigured people, midgets, unpleasant nudity, long tangents away from the main narrative of the film, etc. This isn’t a problem though, as no one makes films like Jodorowsky, and he doesn’t have that many, so each quality addition to his oeuvre is a welcome one.
Though the film is supposed to be autobiographical, and indeed it does focus a lot on the childhood of the young Jodorowsky and what it was like to grow up as a Chilean Jew back in the day, the main focus of the film is on Jodorowsky’s father. A diehard communist of Jewish-Ukrainian origin, Jaime Jodorowsky (played by Brontis Jodorowsky) dresses like Stalin and keeps a picture of the Soviet dictator on the wall in his store. He values strength above all, and tries to instil this and the ability to withstand pain ‘like a man’ in his young son, Alejandro. At the same time, with his communist friends, and his buxom, operatic wife, he behaves as a dictator with an iron will and hand.
Like the main characters of El Topo and The Holy Mountain, Jaime will find himself whisked along on a long, strange journey, after a failed attempt on the life of Chilean dictator, Ibanez. But ultimately, his journey and the encounters he has with the characters he meets along the way will soften his heart, and he will return to his family a changed and better man.
In Jodorowsky’s not-so-subtle, but strange and strangely beautiful way, he illustrates the beauty of the human spirit in his portrait of a brusque man who finds himself aided in his quest by kind but unfortunate people, like the horse groomer whose death and replacement won’t even be noticed by his master; the female midget who loves him and takes care of him, waiting until the day his memory returns and he must leave her, never to be loved again; and the righteous, religious old man who works to make chairs for the church and takes him in despite his ‘deformity’ and gives him work, food and shelter.
As with all Jodorowsky’s films, The Dance Of Reality requires a bit of patience to sit through the director’s indulgences and beloved disturbing imagery, but if you know Jodorowsky you already know that. What you get in return is a visually and spiritually bountiful film experience that reminds one, like only Jodorowsky can, that we are all human and we all need to be loved, no matter how weird we look on the outside or the in.