TV Party Tonight! #33

TV Party Tonight! #33

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017
COLUMN

Dance of Reality
Blu-ray (Abkco)

I’m not sure what made Jodorowsky abandon movie making for 23 years, but it’s certain that the world lost one of its most unique filmmakers in the process. It might have been the monumental task of trying to get a Topo sequel financed, and maybe Jodorowsky was finally disillusioned with filmmaking, but the man certainly stayed productive during those years, writing books and comics galore. However, it’s no surprise that such a passionate filmmaker would eventually return to the medium that helped him make his name.

Being a fan of El Topo and Holy Mountain (which we proudly covered on Ground Control), I was quite delighted and impressed with Dance of Reality. It’s certainly in the same realm of Jodorowsky’s aforementioned films which explore his relationship with his family, but in many ways Dance of Reality is much more personal and autobiographical. This time, his life, his family, and his hometown take center stage.

And if you can’t tell by my rambling, I really enjoyed this movie.

Set in Tocopilla Chile in the 1950s (and actually shot there), Dance of Reality tells the story of a young Alejandrito Jodorowsky who must grow up feeling out of place with a loving mother and demanding father. Jodorowsky’s real life son Brontis plays his father actually while he narrates the life and inner dialogue of Alejandrito and his relationship with the world. Jodorowky depicts his father Jaime both as a cold and idealistic man and one who can still change and improve. In that sense, this is quite the hopeful movie. It’s quite interesting seeing the transformation and change of focus in this movie, as Dance of Reality appears to be about Alejandrito at first, but then the attention shifts to the father Jaime and his struggles. Full of color, Dance of reality is loaded with beautiful shots, gorgeous imagery, wonderful costumers and colorful sets and characters. In look alone, Dance of Reality is perhaps Jodorowsky’s most accessible work.

This blu-ray edition of Dance of Reality has some pretty interesting extras, but being a little on the lighter side, they unfortunately barely scratch at the surface of this movie. Particularly missing is a commentary track by Jodorowsky which surely would have been a well of anecdotes and insights as they proved to be in El Topo and Holy Mountain.

Dance of Reality is a return to form for Jodorowky and a mesmerizing one at that. It’s Jodorowsky exposed like we’ve never seen him, and we’re still left wondering at the man. Brilliant.

 

Let’s get nerdy:

  • Jodorowsky wanted to crowdfund this project and not make a movie which would lose money. According to Wikipedia, he was successful.
  • In many ways, Jodorowsky embraces his childhood and upbringing in Dance of Reality. Perhaps this is why he often appears embracing the character of Alejandrito.
  • Kudos to Jodorowsky for figuring out how to film a circle jerk scene with minors without breaking any laws.
  • Alejandrito’s mother sings all the time because according to Jodorowsky, his mother wanted to be an opera singer all her life and would call to him as a kid with musical intonations.
  • Dance of Reality was apparently released on DVD for free in Chile as a gift from Jodorowsky. One wonders if this applied to all of Chile or just Tocopilla and how many copies were gifted.
  • The torture scene where Brontis is tied up was apparently so painful that he could only assume that pose for seconds. The bare minimum to get the shot.

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