INTERVIEW: ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY ON “THE DANCE OF REALITY” AND THE HEALING POWER OF ART

Many words come to mind when describing the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky. Everything from “surreal” and “hallucinatory” to “grotesque” and “violent.” But “autobiographical” is usually not one of them. And yet, here we are, with Jodorowsky’s first film in 24 years, “La Danza de la Realidad (The Dance of Reality)”, a myth-inflected memoir of his family in 1930s Chile. Telling the tale of unhappy, suicidal Alejandro (Jeremías Herskovits) and his larger-than-life parents—his father Jaime (Brontis Jodorowsky), attempts to assassinate the left-wing dictator Ibanez, while his mother sings all her dialogue as if it were opera—the film feels very much of a piece with the visionary director’s earlier, legendary work. Here, Jodorowsky’s magical realist, fable-like cinematic language finally enters the real world; if cult films like “El Topo,” “The Holy Mountain,” and “Santa Sangre” interwove elaborately absurdist imagery with narratives borrowed from genre and myth, “The Dance of Reality” feels like Jodorowsky returning to the scene of the crime—to the the childhood visions and heartbreaks that started it all.

“The Dance of Reality” also comes at a time of increased exposure for the filmmaker. Another film, “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” Frank Pavich’s documentary about the director’s ambitious, abortive attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s “Dune” in the early 1970s, recently hit theaters. In it, Jodorowsky talks about making films as a spiritual battle, and calls his collaborators “spiritual warriors.” It seems that now, with a documentary and an autobiographical film, with a new memoir set to be published in June (“The Dance of Reality: A Psychomagical Autobiography”) and a popular Twitter feed, this once-enigmatic filmmaker has opened himself up to an international public in ways previously unthinkable. I recently sat down to talk with him in New York, on the eve of a MoMA screening of his latest film. As you can see, the conversation soon went on to other matters: The “poison” of stardom, the quest for happiness, the power of art to heal, and much, much more…

Check out the INTERVIEW: ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY ON “THE DANCE OF REALITY” AND THE HEALING POWER OF ART, originally found on rogerandebert.com.