By Clara Pais
There is one exciting event in the film world which I am very much looking forward to. That is the new film by Alejandro Jodorowsky, La Danza de la Realidad, which he has just finished shooting, and is now starting on post-production.
Jodorowsky is the creator of such wonderful and influential cult films as El Topo, The Holy Mountain and Santa Sangre. Even though he has quite a substantial following now, Jodorowsky’s cinema is not one that easily serves the money-making purposes of the movie industry which is part of the reason why this will be his first film in twenty-three years. His motivations are, before anything else, self-expression and the expansion of consciousness, as he says, “I used to think that movies could change spectators mentality. I used to ask from movies what the body asks from LSD … I am talking about an illuminating cinema, a type of cinema in which spectators go to the movie theater and, when they come out, they have changed.” This means a cinema that not only breaks conventions and taboos but also challenges the audience’s understanding of themselves, something which, unfortunately, has a history of scaring producers and financiers away. However, for this new project, Jodorowsky has embraced what a lot of filmmakers are discovering to be a liberation from the restraints of industry and institutional funding, that is, crowdfunding.
Using the various social networking websites available online, Jodorowsky launched an appeal to his followers, offering special edition DVD’s of the film for donations above $100. The fans responded, and from the money raised in this way, plus his own savings, he managed to muster a modest amount that has allowed him to make his film completely uncompromisingly.
Interestingly, Jodorowsky’s supporters are not only composed of film fans but mostly of people interested in his work in other areas, mainly Psychomagic. Psychomagic is the therapeutic practice that emerged from his studies of spirituality, the unconscious and the effects of genealogical history on the psyche, and his conviction that art is a powerful healing tool, both for the creators and the spectators.
La Danza de la Realidad is, in fact, an adaptation of his imaginary autobiography, a book of the same name, which relates memoirs of his early life experiences in his hometown Tocopilla in Chile, and subsequent experiences and discoveries that led to the development of psychomagic. ‘Imaginary’ it is explained ‘is used not in the sense of “fictitious” because all the characters, places, and events are true, but in the sense that the underlying story of his life is a constant effort to expand imagination and broaden its limits, in order to apprehend it in its therapeutic and transforming potential.’
It is great news that someone with such unique vision as Jodorowsky has found a way to get his films made without the restraints of the industry. Hopefully this will be seen as an inspiring example for all filmmakers who aspire to make cinema as art and feel discouraged by the system.