The Dance of Reality

Cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain) returned to his native Chile to shoot this autobiographical head trip (2013), which plays like Fellini with its circus performers and fantastic personal reveries but also offers such midnight-movie outrages as a gang of singing amputees and an assassin’s stray bullet blowing the head off a statue of Jesus. As portrayed here, Jodorowsky’s father was a Stalinesque bully who subjected him to all manner of physical punishment, and the white-haired filmmaker often appears onscreen to counsel and comfort his younger self. Yet the movie’s second half registers as an act of compassion, following the father on a bizarre personal odyssey that reduces him to a shambling hobo and teaches him never to take his family for granted. In any case, whatever childhood traumas Jodorowsky may need to exorcise are ultimately subsumed by the movie’s wild invention and carnivalesque cheer. In Spanish with subtitles.