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"The Dance of Reality": The Year of Living Jodorowsky 

Wednesday, May 28 2014

The Dance of Reality is Alejandro Jodorowsky's first film in decades, and is clearly the work of the same man who made El Topo and The Holy Mountain in the 1970s. It's a dreamlike autobiographical tale about growing up a Ukrainian-Jewish immigrant in 1930s Chile, with the present-day Jodorowsky appearing as a spirit guide to his younger self (Jeremias Herskovits), and Alejandro's son Brontis playing his own grandfather as an emotionally and physically abusive Stalin wannabe. The narrative is straightforward, splitting time between the son and father — and Brontis gives an astonishing, fearless performance — though it's also filled with all the nudity, violence, amputees, little people, and other apparent non sequiturs that one expects from prime Jodorowsky. (Alejandro's also as gleefully anti-clerical as ever; a shot of a Christ statue's head exploding is followed by a character bemoaning a world in which people dress up dogs in costumes.) Reality is something of a companion piece to the recent Jodorowsky's Dune documentary, and though seeing the documentary first provides interesting context, it's not absolutely necessary. Indeed, The Dance of Reality may be confounding to those whose first exposure to him was Jodorowsky's Dune (or who are unaccustomed to surrealism), but for the rest of us, it's wonderful to have a master back at work.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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