I could pretty much say that for every other film from Alejandro Jodorowsky. Lucky enough I was able to familiarize myself with his previous films; 'El Topo' and 'The Holy Mountain' a month ago, before hearing his latest 'The Dance of Reality' will play at the Melbourne Internation Film Festival; direct from its Cannes premiere.
I can't really recommend this to you if you aren't very familiar with Jodorowsky's other films. He always if not Often plays on Allegories; El Topo appears as an allegorical Western playing on a very mystic and strange backdrop full of religious ideals and encounters, while also exploring how much of this comes from human deeds on a spiritual journey to enlightenment. I'd gladly revisit that film again and consider it his "Masterpiece". 'The Holy Mountain' on the other hand has just as much of a cult following as 'El Topo' does, Instead That film focuses on spiritual conflict and pilgrimage to attain a spiritual level greater than man above the solar system's landscape. Both films have even been noted to be part of the ever wondrous hippie generation. Jodorowsky truly is an icon for what he achieved expressing within his films; very Avent-Garde spiritual understanding within our mind's visions giving greater tones to such surrealist imagery of psychedelia. Sure enough his films aren't for everyone and must be approached with a curious and Adult mind to fully understand.
'The Dance of Reality' marks Jodorowsky's first film in almost 23 years. Its an autobiographical film based upon the Jodorowsky's memoir of he name. The Film focuses on his upbringing in Chile, Young Alejandro (Jeremías Herskovits) is a curious boy trying to understand the values of life and childhood. His Father Jaime (Brontis Jodorowsky) is very strict, arrogant and abusive due to his obsession with communism and Stalin, he teaches the young Alejandro the meaning of manhood growing up and the lessons in life. His Mother; Sara (Pamela Flores, all her dialogue is sung) is more gracious and loving towards both Alejandro and Jaime.
The plot seems to focus on both father and son character development. Alajandro is growing up to becoming a fine young lad with good moral values taught by both his parents. Jaime on the Other hand thinks he can do anything within his power and might but eventually ends losing is all not learning his lesson from such reckless deeds, eventually trying get out the hard way. The 84 year old 'Jodorowsky' himself, serves as the film's narrator or spiritual guidance to his younger self.
In some way 'Dance of Reality' explores Jodorowsky's allegory of life and childhood as well as his old man's mistakes. You could say most of these themes have already been explored when looking back at 'El Topo', Although that film was more a metaphor for Jodorowsky's upbringing.
'Dance of Reality' directly takes Jodorowsky's native Chile setting and brings it up close examining his childhood and early spiritual understanding as well as what type of person his father was.
This film mainly has many of the similar motifs and symbolism found within Jodorowsky's other films (e.g. limbless or missing limbed humans and visible genitalia, Why? Cause he can!). Psychedelia and surreal imagery play a significant parts within the films substance. The narrative is easy to understand from a direct perspective rather than an exercise on the weird and wonderful. The film for one is fascinating, very engaging and self centered. The character development of Alajandro and Jaime is so drawn in; its hard to distinguish the line of fantasy and reality. Supporting and minor characters also play memorable roles in this film. I guess it was worth the wait for Jodorowsky's first release in years.
I can see this film being praised and divided by critics and audiences alike. Jodorowsky shows things within his films that even the most repentant or squeamish mind may find uncomfortable to watch. If given the right audience were to view this film they won't be disappointed. This film is Unlike anything I've ever seen; it has left me Awe Struck, amazed disturbed at the same time. One Thing for certain is Alejandro Jodorowsky is like no other film maker thats ever lived
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