According to Alexandro Jodorowsky, reality is just a dance created by our imaginations. The Dance of Reality, his first movie in 23 years, is a validation of that statement. It is an autobiographical movie that is as much fantasy as musical. The movie is about his growing up in Chile and his relationship with his parents. The movie uses heavy dose of surrealism, which means there is lot in it than what meets our eye and there is also high probability that you are not going to make much sense out of it.
The movie portrays Jodorowsky's life as a kid, his search for an identity and the part played by his parents and society in its formation. An integral part of the movie is the spiritual journey that his father who is a Stalinist and an atheist, makes, which concludes in him realising his true nature and identity. His mother who delivers her speeches in an operatic singing tone appears docile and silly, but soon proves that she is really the pillar that emotionally and spiritually supports the family.
The first thing that strikes you while watching The Dance of Reality is its insane color sense. To say the movie is colorful will be an understatement. Complementing it's visual tone are the images that accompany it and the poetic dialogues. Out of the world is the only suitable adjective. Though it is biopic, do not expect any realism. Jodorowsky claims whatever shown in the movie is real, but portrayed through art. So we see a theosophist in a loin cloth dancing on beaches, a piece of rock when tied to balloons floating in sky and people walking on streets always wearing face masks.
This treatment is deliberately done. I feel the reason is to make the viewer uncomfortable and aware that there is something hidden underneath of what is being shown. Probably like how his masterpiece El Topo used insane violence to alienate viewers and make them seek the meaning of it all.
I feel Jodorowsky crafts beautiful visual puzzles aimed at the audience in every scene making them take part in the creative process. He make sure that they doesn't just go along with him while watching the movie. His aim is to make them try and make sense of his puzzles or question him even if they are unable to answer them.
The use of violence and sex is much mellowed in this movie when compared to El Topo, his other and much older movie that I watched. But still there are numerous scenes that has potential to cause discomfort, like the one in which his mother cures his father of plague. Several imagery and ideas seems reappearing from El Topo, but overall this movie has a more positive vibe to it. The Dance of Reality is a beautiful poetic puzzle of a movie that demands audience participation in appreciating it.
Read my blog post on El Topo another masterpiece by Alexandro Jodorowsky.