Jodorowsky

Published on June 21st, 2014

JODOROWSKY

Brontis Jodorowsky by Céline Nieszawer

Brontis Jodorowsky
Photo: Céline Nieszawer

After a lengthy absence from filmmaking, 2014 is shaping up to be quite a year for cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. First there was the enchanting documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, directed by Frank Pavich, which focused on his failed but inspired attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune in 1975. Now comes his first feature film in almost 15 years, The Dance of Reality, which was independently produced and based on his autobiography of the same name. While the 85-year-old Jodorowsky travels to film festivals promoting these latest films, he will send a special liaison to Miami Beach: his eldest son, the actor Brontis Jodorowsky will make an appearance during a near month-long engagement of these new films at the Miami Beach Cinematheque.

In The Dance of Reality, Brontis plays the lead role: the director’s abusive father, Jaime. Like the book, the film is parts exorcism and reconciliation, and Brontis goes all out in a powerful performance as the tyrannical father figure who often uses fear to motivate the 12-year-old version of his father to “act like a man.” Speaking over Skype from his Paris home, Brontis is as mellow as can be. “I think it’s an interesting movie not only as a cinema object but also as a therapeutical thing, like a personal thing. There’s a mix there.”

jodorBrontis has a long history of collaborating with his father in film. He made his film debut in Jodorowsky’s noted 1970 “Midnight MovieEl Topo, playing the titular gunslinger’s son at 6 years old. At 12, his father chose him to play Dune’s hero Paul Atreides. While his father scurried to pull together all the elements of his film in pre-production, he hooked Brontis up with a martial arts teacher to play Paul. “I took it very seriously,” says Brontis. “I was very passionate about the project. I was very aware about the responsibility I would have to carry even if I was a very young person. I could see my father working 24 hours a day on this project, and it would be a huge thing.”

Unfortunately, the film never came to be. But Brontis’ acting career continued, mostly in theater. In 2012 he had his first starring role in a small film from Mexico called Táu directed by newcomer Daniel Castro Zimbrón. Besides these two new Jodorowsky-related films, the MBC with host a rare screening of Táu, which means a lot to the actor. “Most of the movie is in the desert of San Luis Potosi. Part of El Topo was shot there, so it was like finishing a cycle and opening a new cycle. It’s really magical,” he notes.

The Dance of Reality and Jodorowsky’s Dune open June 6 at Miami Beach Cinematheque (www.mbcinema.com). There will also be a screening of Táu that month. The month of Jodorowsky climaxes June 17, at 7 PM, with “Speaking In Cinema” with Brontis discussing his films with film critics Michael Atkinson (Village Voice) and Rene Rodriguez (Miami Herald).
~ Hans Morgenstern | The Independent Ethos

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