Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Jodorowsky’s The Dance of Reality
is it like to grow up with a father who idolizes Stalin? It’s hard. Yet,
Alejandro Jodorowsky tries not to judge him too harshly. In fact, he casts his
son Brontis in the role, adding further Freudian layers to his autobiographical
The Dance of Reality (trailer here), which opens
today in New York.
the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, young Alejandro would be an outsider in
coastal Tocopilla, regardless. Dressing like Stalin, just as his father Jaime does,
only makes matters worse. He is a sensitive youth, more comfortable around his protective
mother Sara, who sings arias rather than talking in a conventional manner. The
future director of Santa Sangre is
bullied mercilessly by his father, but he slowly forges a relationship through
his stiff upper lip—at least until Jaime vanishes on a mysterious (and purely
fictional) mission of extremist political violence.
it does not exactly belabor the point, Reality
eventually suggests Jaime’s Stalinism is a manifestation of his domineering
instincts, which he should strive to overcome. That certainly seems reasonable.
However, most of the film is an uneasy attempt to tell Jorowsky’s coming of age
story while providing the surreal weirdness his admirers will expect, like
Truffaut’s Doinel films tripping on acid. Frankly, it often feels rather
make matters stranger and more uncomfortable, Jodorowsky himself often walks
into the picture Rod Serling-style to offer commentary and comfort his young
alter-ego. However, it is decidedly creepy to see him drape himself over the
boy, like a pervy Looper. While Jodorwosky’s manic enthusiasm is rather
charming in Frank Pavich’s Dune documentary, he quickly wears out his welcome in Reality.
it is Brontis Jodorowsky who takes ownership of Reality. More than just keeping his head above the flood of
madness, the almost Paul Atreides vividly expresses both the intolerance and
the insecurity warring within his grandfather. In contrast, his brother Cristobal is
game enough as the lead of their other brother Adan’s Voice Thief, but a little of him and his thong goes a long way as
Jodorowsky senior almost pulls Reality together down the stretch,
gently but firmly repudiating Jaime’s paternal severity and political zealotry,
but there are just too many freaks, midgets, and scenes of ambiguously oedipal nudity
to wade through. Only for hardcore Jodorowsky cultists, the long awaited The Dance of Reality opens today (5/23)
in New York at the Landmark Sunshine.
Labels: Alejandro Jodorowsky