The Dance of Reality

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The Dance of Reality
Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Produced by
Screenplay by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Based on La Danza de la Realidad 
by Alejandro Jodorowsky
  • Brontis Jodorowsky
  • Adan Jodorowsky
  • Jeremías Herskovits
  • Pamela Flores
  • Cristóbal Jodorowsky
Music by Adan Jodorowsky
Cinematography Jean-Marie Dreujou
Edited by Maryline Monthieux
Le Soleil Films
Distributed by Caméra One
Release dates
  • May 18, 2013 (2013-05-18) (Cannes)
Country France
Language Spanish
Budget $3 million

The Dance of Reality (Spanish: La danza de la realidad) is a 2013 French autobiographical film written and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, starring Brontis Jodorowsky, Pamela Flores, and Jeremias Herskovits.[1] It is Alejandro Jodorowsky's first film in 23 years.[2] The film screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[1] The film is based on an earlier work by Jodorowsky first published in Spanish under the title La danza de la realidad: Psicomagia y psicochamanismo (2001).[3]


Young Alejandro (Jeremías Herskovits) lives with his Jewish-Ukrainian parents Jaime (Brontis Jodorowsky) and Sara (Pamela Flores) in Tocopilla, Chile. Jaime is a communist who worships Stalin and raises his son with great severity. He plans to assassinate the right-wing president Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (Bastian Bodenhofer). To get close to Ibáñez, Jaime gets a job as groom to the president's beloved horse Bucephalus. But when Jaime has Ibáñez at gunpoint, his hands become paralysed. Jaime begins a long journey, is captured by Nazis and tortured. Rebels free Jaime and return him to his family in Tocopilla. Jaime's hands are healed when Sara tells him "You found in Ibáñez all you admired in Stalin. You are the same as they are! You have lived in the guise of a tyrant." Alejandro, Jaime, and Sara board a ship and leave Tocopilla.


  • Brontis Jodorowsky as Jaime
  • Pamela Flores as Sara
  • Jeremías Herskovits as Young Alejandro
  • Alejandro Jodorowsky as Old Alejandro
  • Bastián Bodenhöfer as Carlos Ibáñez
  • Andrés Cox as Don Aquiles
  • Adán Jodorowsky as Anarchist
  • Cristóbal Jodorowsky as Theosophist[4]


After scouting for locations in Chile at his childhood village in early 2011, Alejandro Jodorowsky received permission from the local Chilean government to shoot in the coming spring. On August 22, 2011, he held a forum with the locals to discuss his vision with the film.[5]

Shooting began in June 2012 and concluded the following August.[citation needed] Most of the film was shot in Tocopilla.[6] Jodorowsky's wife, Pascale Montandon, was the costume designer for the film, and his three sons appeared in the film.[7]

In January 2013, Jodorowsky's son Brontis, a co-star of the film, stated that the film was in post production and would be finished by March, saying the film is "very different from the other films that he made."[8]

The film blends Jodorowsky’s personal history with metaphor, mythology and poetry, reflecting the director’s view that reality is not objective but rather a “dance” created by our imaginations: “The story of my life is a constant effort to expand the imagination and its limitations, to capture its therapeutic and transformative potential... An active imagination is the key to such a wide vision: it looks at life from angles that are not our own, imagining other levels of consciousness superior to our own.”[9]

Jodorowsky has expressed his ambivalence towards the film industry and its focus on making money and claimed he did not want to “make money but rather lose money" in the making of this film, asking for it to be funded purely through donations.[10]


The film screened in The Directors' Fortnight at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2013.[1] It received a standing ovation.[11]

The trailer was released on May 18, 2013. Reviewers remarked on its similarity to Jodorowsky's previous work and the influence of Federico Fellini's films.[12]

Jodorowsky was planning for the film’s "international premiere" on June 7, 2013, to take place in the town of Tocopilla, where much of the film was set and shot.[13]

The film had its US debut at the South by Southwest festival in March 2014.[14]

The DVD and Blu-ray release of the film is scheduled for 26 August 2014. The film was released in DVD for free in Chile on April 30th, 2015, as a "gift" from himself and "The Clinic" newspaper together with that publication.[15]


The Dance of Reality received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 93% based on 44 reviews.[16] Metacritic gave the film a rating of 75/100, based on 20 reviews.[17]

Michael Atkinson of LA Weekly felt that "The Dance of Reality may be Alejandro Jodorowsky's best film".[18] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called the film an "arresting spectacle," that was "swathed in surreal mythology dream logic and instant day-glo legend, resembling Fellini, Tod Browning, Emir Kusturica, and many more." [19] Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune wrote: "At more than two hours, "The Dance of Reality" unquestionably has its longueurs, but on balance it is alive with enough images and ideas for several movies—as if Jodorowsky were afraid he might have to wait 20 more years before making another."[20]

The film was described by Stephanie Merry of The Washington Post as "a surreal autobiography that blends fantastical characters, Chilean politics, religious insights and the painful reality of adolescence".[21] Eric Kohn of IndieWire gave it a "B+" rating, stating: "Sometimes it's gloriously entertaining, but at 130 minutes the loose surrealism occasionally grows tiresome".[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Foundas, Scott (May 19, 2013). "Cannes Film Review: ‘The Dance of Reality’". Variety. 
  2. ^ Benson, Eric (March 16, 2014). "The Psychomagical Realism of Alejandro Jodorowsky". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ "La danza de la realidad: Psicomagia y psicochamanismo" (PDF). 
  4. ^ "About The Dance of Reality". The Dance of Reality. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Translation result". Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  6. ^ Dalton, Stephen (May 19, 2013). "The Dance of Reality: Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  7. ^ Lim, Dennis (May 16, 2013). "Cannes 2013: Chile's onetime cult king still the wizard of weird". Los Angeles Times. 
  8. ^ Morgenstern, Hans (January 29, 2013). "Brontis Jodorowsky on His Father's New Film The Dance of Reality". Miami New Times. 
  9. ^ Alejandro Jodorowsky. La Danza de la Realidad. Debolsillo: Spain, 2012. ISBN 978-84-9793-642-2 (vol.613/1).
  10. ^ Si te da asco el cine industrial, apoya la película La Danza de la Realidad. Official blog of Alejandro Jodorowsky. 3 June 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  11. ^ La Psicomagia de Jodorowsky hipnotiza Cannes. El Mercurio online. 18 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  12. ^ Lyttelton, Oliver (May 18, 2013). "Watch: Trailer For Alejandro Jodorowsky's First Film In 23 Years, 'The Dance Of Reality'". IndieWire. 
  13. ^ Jodorowsky prepara estreno mundial de la danza de la realidad en Tocopilla. Official blog of Alejandro Jodorowsky. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  14. ^ Savlov, Mark (March 12, 2014). "SXSW Film Review: 'The Dance of Reality'". The Austin Chronicle. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "The Dance of Reality (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  17. ^ "The Dance of Reality". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  18. ^ Atkinson, Michael (May 20, 2014). "The Dance of Reality May Be Jodorowsky's Best Film". LA Weekly. 
  19. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (May 18, 2013). "Cannes 2013: La Danza de la Realidad (The Dance Of Reality) - first look review". The Guardian. 
  20. ^ Phillips, Michael (May 29, 2014). "The Dance of Reality". Chicago Tribune. 
  21. ^ Merry, Stephanie (May 29, 2014). "‘The Dance of Reality’ movie review". The Washington Post. 
  22. ^ Kohn, Eric (May 18, 2013). "Cannes Review: 'The Dance of Reality,' Alejandro Jodoroworsky's First Film in 23 Years, Is a Return to Form". IndieWire. 

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