by Ariston Anderson.
Alejandro Jodorowsky premiered his first directorial feature in 23 years at Cannes this year with the fictionalized autobiographical film The Dance of Reality. The man behind cult favorites El Topo and The Holy Mountain delighted audiences with his magic-realist account of growing up in Tocopilla, Chile. It was met with a standing ovation, and the director called the film’s reception in France one of the proudest moments of his life.
The Dance of Reality is marked by fantastic, surreal characters, from an opera-singing mother to an overzealous anarchist to a painted religious guru. It is easy to see how Jodorowsky’s blooming imagination took shape with such a beginning. His own son Brontis Jodorowsky plays his father in the film, an abusive man who dresses as Stalin, forces willpower and manliness upon the young golden-locked Alejandro, and dreams of becoming a communist hero.
The film was a healing exercise for Jodorowsky, something he described as a spiritual work in addressing his abusive upbringing. The whole effort behind the film was a family affair, with his sons Adan and Axel also acting in the film, and his wife Pascale Montandon-Jodorowsky creating the costumes.
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