Something often overlooked by people who sneer at New Age spirituality is that many of its tenets are cribbed from age-old beliefs of cultures ranging from assorted Native American to a host of Eastern societies. They're not just rootless blather. (Of course, that many of these beliefs are bastardized into touchy-feely nonsense for modern Westerners is absolutely deserving of a good eye-roll.) Writer-director Dominique De Fazio's magical realism comedy Dancing on a Dry Salt Lake straddles the line between yoga instructor proselytizing and a genuine effort to honor source materials and what they teach. After eccentric cosmologist Warner (De Fazio) is fired from his NASA gig for one too many unconventional efforts to bring questions of spirituality to the workplace table, and then is dumped by his wife, a road-trip accident finds him stranded in a small, desolate California town populated by Italian immigrants and a host of offbeat locals. His spiritual quest now has guides. Playing like a cross between Baghdad Cafe and the Karate Kid — Warner slowly learns that simple, everyday tasks are actually spirit work — the low-budget Dancing drops spiritual bromides at clockwork intervals, all bereft of subtlety. The cast (which includes familiar character actors like Nicolas Coster and David Leisure) is wildly uneven, talent-wise, and there's a stiltedness to the film's earnestness, but its sincerity is palpable.
Dominique De FazioDavid Barrett, Linda Chang, Jon CollinsDominique De FazioCinema Revealed