Endless Poetry (2016) ☆☆☆1/2(3.5/4): The wild second chapter of Jodorowsky’s life

“Endless Poetry”, which is supposedly the second part of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film autobiography, is as wild, bold, and weird as you can expect from his work. Like his previous film “The Dance of Reality” (2013), the movie freely mixes his real-life episodes with many surrealistic touches to strike and then impress you, and the result is not only as accessible as its predecessor but also alternatively poignant and compelling, even though it often make you wonder how much of it is actually true.

The movie starts right at where “The Dance of Reality”, which mostly focuses on Jodorowsky’s childhood period in a rural northern Chilean town named Tocopilla, ends its story. Young Jodorowsky, played by Jodorowsky’s grandson Jeremias Herskovits, leaves Tocopilla along with his parents Jaime (Brontis Jodorowsky, who is one of Jodorwosky’s sons and also appeared along with his father in “El Topo” (1970)) and Sara (Paemle Flores), and then they settle in a urban neighborhood of Santiago where Jaime starts to run a small store. Although he had a cathartic moment of penance and redemption in the previous movie, Jaime remains to be mean and abusive as before, and that certainly hurts young Jodorowsky as well as Sara, who still delivers her lines via operatic singing as before.

Although his father strongly expects him to become a respectable doctor someday, young Jodorowsky comes to have more aspiration of being a poet, which is certainly not approved by his father at all. At least, he later encounters someone who can understand his sensitive artistic soul as sharing their common frustration with those cumbersome family expectations and pressures on themselves, but, unfortunately, he cannot respond much to the sexual longing from that person in question due to their very different sexualities.

As young Jodorowsky struggles to follow his artistic passion despite his father’s objection, Jodorowsky often throws a series of weird and crazy moments as expected. There is a grisly moment which reflects how harsh and violent his neighborhood was at that time, and then there is also a painful scene where Jaime cruelly humiliates a couple with disability in front of many others just because they dared to steal from his store.

Anyway, the movie subsequently moves forward to several years later, and now we see Jodorowsky as a young grown man, who is now played by Adán Jodorowsky, who is another son of Jodorowsky and previously played a supporting role in “The Dance of Reality” (He was also young Fenix in “Santa Sangre” (1989), by the way). While yearning to be a great poet more than ever, Jodorowsky is still not sure about himself and his artistic talent, but that does not stop him at all from hanging around a number of offbeat local artists, and he comes to gain confidence on his art after a certain small act of art from him leads to an unexpected good opportunity for fully exploring his potentials.

Meanwhile, like many other young heterosexual male artists around his age, Jodorowsky finds himself madly in love with one woman who happens to draw his attention at one night. She is a real-life poet named Stella Díaz Varín (Pamela Flores, who looks quite different from her other role in the film), and she turns out to be as wild and passionate as she looks on the surface. When Jodorowsky is quite drunk and mad about her at one point, she promptly shows him how much she actually loves him, and then they come to have an odd carnal moment together at her shabby residence, though their relationship subsequently turns out to be not as strong as it seems at first.

The other important person in Jodorowsky’s young and wild years is a fellow poet named Enrique Lihn (Leandro Taub). When Jodorowsky approaches to him, Lihn has some reservation on Jodorowsky, but it does not take much time for them to form a friendship between them, and there is an amusing scene where they cheerfully attempt something to test their artistic integrity but then hilariously fail in the end.

As the movie bounces from one wild episode after another, Jodorowsky holds our attention while supplying more of his richly embellished personal moments including the one where his younger self happens to interact with him during some weirdly spiritual moment. Thanks to his cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who has been mainly known for his acclaimed collaboration with Wong Kar-Wai, many key moments in the film shine with striking color scheme to be appreciated, and we gladly go along with their resulting surrealistic mood even when we are shocked and baffled.

Eventually, the movie culminates to a dramatic moment between Jodorowsky and his father, who still objects to his son’s pursuit of art and poetry even when his son is about to leave for Paris. As admitted to us by Jodorowsky, he would never see his father again after that, but he tries to have a reconciliation with the memories of his father here in this movie, and we come to see that the movie is a therapy session for him just like “The Dance of Reality”.

Overall, “Endless Poetry” is another interesting film from Jodorowsky, and I am glad that I finally watched it, though I recently came to regard him with less admiration than before thanks to his “exaggerated” claim on how he shot the rape scene in “El Topo”. Considering that he is 91 at present, I am not sure whether he will be able to make three more autographic movies as planned, but “The Dance of Reality” and “Endless Poetry” show that he has lost none of his talent yet, and I am ready for what may come from him next.

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