The Dance of Reality Screen 16 articles

The Dance of Reality

2013

The Dance of Reality Poster
  • Enjoyed some of the deliberate artifice—a barber carefully removing little Alejandro's blonde wig; an ordinary car surrounded by a cardboard illustration of a tank; kids "masturbating" carved wooden dildos—but mostly this was a grating experience, especially once the narrative shifts focus to Jaime's plot against Ibañez and his subsequent psychosomatic crippling. The dance of reality threatens to become the dirge of therapy.

  • Jodorowsky's retreat into nostalgia and feigned introspection is more in line with Amarcord, that intolerable, solipsistic Fellini trifle that's often mistaken as satirizing, rather than valorizing, a carnivalesque sense of communal forlorn. In fact, The Dance of Reality contains not a single image or moment as gloriously off-kilter or passionate as at least a dozen from Jodorowsky's previous films. The filmmaker forsakes visual prowess and experimentation for more neutered flourishes of lament.

  • Throughout the film, Jodorowsky evinces the same visual inventiveness and sardonic humour that marked the best of his earlier work – with the film’s only major drawback being the cheap CGI he occasionally has recourse to deploying.

  • An autobiographical memory piece, shot in his hometown of Tocopilla in the Chilean desert, it boasts cut-rate CGI, rampant Freudian undercurrents, some token circus grotesquerie, and a dignified performance by Brontis Jodorowsky (the filmmaker’s son, playing the filmmaker’s Stalin-like father) that keeps the sub-Fellini sentimentality at bay.

  • As purely personal a film as Jodorowsky has ever made, “Dance” features no shortage of the bizarro imagery and willful atonalities that have long been his stock-in-trade, but it all seems to stem from a more sincere, coherent place this time than in the flamboyant head movies (“El Topo,” “The Holy Mountain”) that made him a star of the 1970s midnight movie scene.

  • Despite a sometimes slapdash look — the low-fi seagull effects are just this side of "Birdemic" — it's hard not to find this sort of controlled chaos endearing, certainly not when it's peppered with as much affection and warmth as it is here.

  • Are we in the territory of Jodorowsky’s delirious midnight classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain? Only occasionally: an armless beggar here, a donkey mutilation there. His newfound focus is personal and political, and the vibrant result signals a major talent with plenty more to show us.

  • +

    Sight & Sound: David Thompson
    July 03, 2015 | August 2015 Issue (pp. 96-97)

    Greater rigour in the editing might have resulted in a more digestible film, but Jodorowsky has made significant strides as a storyteller and by the end, with the family setting sail for a new life together, he has earned the standing ovation he received at Cannes.

  • The film is something of a glorious mess, with individual grandiose set pieces inelegantly stitched together in the place of an immersive and comprehensible drama. The director himself appears to offer advice to his younger self, though his musings are, for the large part, comically unintelligible.

  • +

    Sight & Sound: Adrian Martin
    September 07, 2015 | October 2015 Issue (pp. 77-78)

    Jodorowsky reaches beyond the purely personal or familial to big, universal themes: the constant seesaw between "suffering and relief" in life (given many vivid, small-scale, parable-like illustrations); the deluded nature of all fanatical, political ideologies, whether of the left or right... Stylistically, the film has a touchingly simple, sometimes amateurish manner, akin to the genre of naive painting – a trait indelibly caught in the charming, B-movie style of digital effects.

  • It is a truly musical film, scored (by a Jodorowsky) from end to end (and featuring Jodorowsky's mother as a super-buxom, always-singing goddess of robustness) and episodically moving along part sketch-like, part-picaresque, part-nostalgia trip (in all senses of the word).

  • To my surprise, I found that the film is great. And that Jodorowsky may be a false prophet, but he is a true filmmaker, one who explores the medium with absolute freedom and commitment... Each scene is a new discovery, a tour de force where something is invented and nothing is flat. Jodorowsky creates his own world with endless imagination: he comes up with crazy allegories, powerful parables, and a level of emotion, suffering, and joy very uncommon in contemporary cinema.

  • The Dance of Reality may be Alejandro Jodorowsky's best film, and certainly, in a filmography top-heavy with freak-show hyperbole and symbology stew, the one most invested in narrative meaning... Jodorowsky thinks primarily in disconnected images, and while some are simply goofy, others... are disarmingly lovely.The Dance of Reality shouldn't be anyone's indoctrination to El Maestro, but as a sweet, inventive coda to one of film culture's unique and defiant careers, it's a welcome thing.

  • ...The best thing [Jodorowsky's] done, film-wise, since The Holy Mountain... Unlike Carax, Jodorowsky is, at best, a functional visual stylist; however, his ability to transmute childhood fears and emotional pain into funny, allegorical tableaux makes for a captivating—and at times surprisingly touching—movie.

  • During especially painful moments in Alejandro’s life, the director, playing himself, embraces his younger self, speaking to him about the importance of persevering. On paper, it may sound didactic and overtly self-helpy, but Jodorowsky’s poetry — both the spoken and the cinematic kind — renders it delightfully alien.

  • The Dance of Reality is another Wes Anderson-esque wonder, a colorful carnival of boyhood memories from the director of El Topo and The Holy Mountain. Those movies are cult classics with tremendous imagination, but Dance of Reality is a more moving film, because there’s a historical reality that seeps through the magical imagery and that gives it gravity.

More Links