Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Strange Dreams of Jodorowsky

On the cusp of plunging back into my regular work routine, I get a morning where I get to sleep late, since Erika has to go off for some blood tests and can't have breakfast... so I don't need to make it. In bed, in the time before I wake (at 9), I dream that there's a new Jodorowsky movie, and that my friend Mark is telling me I have to see it. I make a pilgrimage to Vancouver by bus; as often happens, my dream backdates me so that I am living in Maple Ridge, still single, and commuting out (even Mark doesn't live in Maple Ridge anymore, but in the dream he does). I find myself the only person (I think) in a theatre where a very strange movie indeed plays, about a man who loses touch with reality, moving through a hallucinatory landscape the details of which escape me - there are animated creatures, strange visual distortions, vivid colours, and an overall impression of visual accomplishment ("Jodorowsky's most visually sophisticated movie ever!"). It is more dream than real. Our protagonist journeys through this weird world to where his family lives, and then, to his surprise and confusion, finds his family are entirely normal; the weirdness goes away, and he is faced with the strange prospect of re-integrating, after his "trip," into a normal family life... was it all a dream?

...at which point something happens; I find myself - perhaps because the main character has decided to go to a movie, and he is, aooarently, my analogue - outside the theatre, and invited in, and once inside, I discover that I too am in the midst of a hallucinatory landscape, with no semblance of the real world. Stars are present - Harvey Keitel is there. Strange creatures, colours, weird distortions of the normal; I can't recall many details. I expect Jodorowsky in full-on magus mode to appear from behind a curtain. The strangest thing about this dreamlike second part of the dream is that it does not seem like a dream, it does not seem like a movie. It is all real.

At which point, suddenly, I find myself settling back down, and I am in a theatre filled with merch, including DVDs of the movie I've just seen, and one blu-ray - PAL formatted, I am warned. The dream, the movie, it all goes away, but I am left, like the protagonist of the dream-within-a-movie-within-a-dream to ask myself: what just happened? What is real?

I am very impressed with Jodorowsky for having accomplished this - for making me dream a complete departure from reality, for actually causing me to hallucinate. He'd always said that he wanted El Topo not to be watched on drugs, but to BE the drug. With his new film, he has succeeded beyond the wildest imagination; how the hell did he do it?

It turns out there were other people in the audience all along, too. I wonder what they made of it? I am eager to call Mark and ask him what HIS experience was... as I leave the theatre to catch the bus back home...

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