“La Danza de Realidad”(“The Dance of Reality”) is Jodorowsky’s first return to screen since 1989’s “Santa Sangre”, but far different from anything else he has done. Jodorowsky wrote an autobiography under the same name before beginning the film and based it heavily off of these writings. He soon became immersed in the project and decided that not only did he not want to make money, he wanted to lose money. Jodorowsky decided to allow the film to be funded completely by donations and to donate back a vast majority of its earnings. This is a project Jodorowsky did for universally healing purposes, and his heart bleeds imagination into every moment on the screen.
The film begins with Jodorowsky giving an elegant monologue illustrated by his classic style of imagery. What follows is a spiritual circus of aesthetic pyrotechnics, and not a dull moment is to be had. I will not give any spoilers, but the film has a tendency to take a jarring shift in tone at times. At moments, the film is pleasant, colorful, and tender. At others, it is exploitive, brutally violent, and harrowing. Ironically, though, this frenetic energy actually enhances the impact of the film. The viewer is being gently guided through a whirlwind of Jodorowksy’s emotions, thoughts, and experiences, and the effect is a vicarious ride down one’s own memories to the source of any remaining suffering.
Jodorowsky himself is no stranger to the spiritual. He has a keen interest in the practice of “psychomagic”, which is a method of prolonged meditation meant to heal wounds from previous events buried deep in the psyche. Through “The Dance of Reality”, Jodorowsky has not only found a medium to explore his past through dream-logic, but also expressed his most inner soul experiences to his viewers. The entire film may be put through Jodo’s filter of bizarre beauty, but it is most definitely a very revealing autobiography. Jodorowksy feels no fear in letting the world know of his troubled past, and this is the courage of a true artist.
The entire film is a spellbinding piece of theatrical cessation, but the ending is what truly puts the stamp of approval on the film. Once again, it is too early in the film’s release schedule to give any spoilers, but let’s just say it involves an extremely tender scene with modern day Jodorowsky embracing his younger self, played by Jeremias Herskovits, sailing away from all of the suffering the past may bring. Jodorowsky gives an ending monologue during this scene that brought me to tears, as he gracefully manifests a series of words in a poetic succession that concludes with a swing of Jodo’s linguistic magic wand that will leave your soul boundlessly surrounded by nothing, but clear, soothing winds. Jodorowsky has finally peaked his head back in the creative doorway… And it looks like the room is inviting him to come in and take a seat until he feels he has overstayed his welcome… Which hopefully won’t be anytime soon.