Alejandro Jodorowsky, the legend behind cult films El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973), is back after a 23-year break from filmmaking. In his latest work, an “imaginary autobiography” that screened last spring at the Directors’ Fortnight, the director revisits his troubled childhood in Tocopilla, a town in the Chilean desert. There young Alejandro lives with his mollycoddling mother and his strict communist father whose efforts to toughen his son border on abuse. Yet The Dance of Reality is anything but self-pitying. True to form, Jodorowsky has created a wild and
weird adventure filled with esoteric, carnivalesque and even macabre touches. Gracefully assembled and visually bold, this whimsical, surreal story proves that the 84-year-old director has lost none of his edge. His melancholy dance is a world where anything goes and where the rich and poor, dwarfs, amputees, lepers, communists, Nazis and transvestites all rub shoulders. Contrasting shadow and light, religious belief and atheism, reverie and brutal reality, Jodorowsky delivers an inspired final film that showcases an imagination that’s still breathtakingly vivid.