Thursday, 27 November 2014


An unhinged artist discovers form, and the value of adhering to it, in The Dance of Reality, an autobiographical film that proves the banality of the autobiography by mocking and embellishing it. This subject, and this artist, being Alejandro Jodorowsky, barely a frame passes without some expectation shattered, some convention gutted, some invention gleefully shoehorned in to fill these gaping holes in the film's basic structure. Jodorowsky seems resigned to his innate inadequacy as a visual stylist, therefore dedicating his efforts toward rendering all of his many ideas with great panache, and toward investing in a genuine, emotionally-driven narrative. The Dance of Reality aspires not to intellectualism, nor to metaphorical grandeur (though Jodorowsky's occasional insistence on indulging in both such pursuits is only permissible due to his infectious enthusiasm), but to provide entertainment. No matter how they were once envisioned, Jodorowsky's films have largely been used to this very end since their premieres; in embracing his charmingly low-brow style as a filmmaker, he has, perhaps, enhanced it. The Dance of Reality, with its linear plot and its basic, but brilliant, imagery, may read on paper as one of this iconic director's most regressive projects, but it's the opposite in effect. It takes a certain type of unhinged artist not only to discover the value of adhering to form, but also the technique required to achieve as such. Technical aspects overwhelm the film, with colourful sets and an incessant musical score - they're all worthwhile additions to this typically maximalist enterprise from a forward-thinking filmmaker.