Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jodorowsky's Reality

The Dance of Reality is everything cinema should be; Daring, bold, controversial, theatrical, raw, surreal, cathartic. In short, a balancing act that threatens to tip over yet maintain its equilibrium all along carrying the audience through the ups and downs and conflicts and vicissitudes of its main characters.

Make no mistake, this is a Alejandro Jodorowsky film through and through. It is not a compromised, mainstream film put together by studio producers or marketing hacks. It's not safe and easy yet it's not too outrageous to scare away the timid. For every bit of harsh or clunky mise-en-scene it segues into confident narrative structure and the assurance of faith or a mother's love.

As in most of Jodorowsky the narrative is a bit messy - yet one is never confused. It is both a coming-of-age tale about a young boy [the young Jodorowsky] and a coming-to-Jesus tale about the boy's father who is a bully and a tyrant. He's also Jewish in the 1930's, which puts him one wrung down in the mind of everyone in the small Chilean village he lives in.

This is entertainment that astonishes and pushes us; from scenes like the mother urinating [for real] on her ailing husband, to dancing naked with her son both blackened with shoe polish, to the craziness of not one but a dozen crippled one [or no] armed men drinking themselves into despairing drunkenness. It's a world that not only embraces atheism and faith, but cornball sincerity [the mother sings every line as if in an opera] with outrageous sadistic madness [the father hurts the child early on to gain his respect].

It's a film about the cruelty of dictatorships and economic difficulties but a one of hope too. Ultimately, it's a film about the rebirth of both a man and his country.

It's tough to recount the plot. And since I saw it with no knowledge of the plot I'll leave it there.

See it. It's a great, unforgettable film.

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