The Dance of Reality

Interviewed by Sight and Sound when his autobiographic film The Dance of Reality was in the works, Alejandro Jorodoswky said: “I want my images to turn the viewer’s brain into what it is: a flying carpet ... My films are like clouds: their meaning keeps changing every minute.”

No one should have been expecting a run-of-the-mill biopic.

The Dance of Reality is, in fact, a surreal, generous, burlesque psychodrama, splitting at the seams with dazzling imagery and Freudian signification.

Based on Jorodowsky’s childhood in the remote Chilean town of Tocopilla, the film renders reality by embracing every sensationalising affect of both youthful experience and wistful reflection.

Jorodowsky has been a clown, a mime, a tarot reader, a psychotherapist, and a cartoonist as well as a filmmaker – and all these crafts show their influence in a film whose bombastic spectacle is as wild as it is judiciously deployed.

Through this cinematic exuberance, Jorodowsky examines the tough realities that shaped his youth.

These include virulent parochial antisemitism and the autocratic rule of president Carlos Ibañez, as well as evergreen issues like Freudian urges, contested masculinity, and thwarted friendships. 

The Dance of Reality is the ideal introduction to a master of cinematic delirium – and the perfect antidote to aspirationally dry memoir in any form.

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