[Last Film I Watched] Endless Poetry (2016)

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English Title: Endless Poetry
Original Title: Poesía sin fin
Year: 2016
Country: Chile, France
Language: Spanish, French, English
Genre: Biography, Drama, Fantasy
Director/Writer: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Music: Adan Jodorowsky
Cinematography: Christopher Doyle
Cast:
Adan Jodorowsky
Pamela Flores
Brontis Jodorowsky
Leandro Taub
Jeremias Herskovits
Julia Avendaño
Carolyn Carlson
Felipe Ríos
Alejandro Jodorowsky
Bastián Bodenhöfer
Kaori Ito
Montserrat Lopez
Patricia Pardo
Camila Muzard
Diego Carrasco
Rating: 7.2/10

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Outré Chilean cult stylist Alejandro Jodorowsky has broken a protracted 23 year hiatus in 2013 with THE DANCE OF REALITY, an autobiographic treatment based on his own memoir, and ENDLESS POETRY is its sequel, in the beginning, departed from his hometown Tocopilla, a teen Alejandro (Herskovits) is transferred to Santiago with his parents Jaime (Brontis Jodorowsky, Alejandro’s eldest son in real life) and Sara (Flores), all three continue their roles from TDOR.

Exhorted by his martinetish father to become a doctor, the gawky Alejandro takes a rebellious act in plumping for poetry as an outlet, introduced by his gay cousin Ricardo (Carrasco), he leaves home and stays with a cohort of amateur artists and soon an adult Alejandro (played by musician Adan Jodorowsky, Alejandro’s youngest son) meets the avant-garde poetess Stella Díaz Varín (Flores too), overwhelmed by her prowess over his manhood, a wide-eyed Alejandro subjects himself to her whims but eventually thinks better of it (after the taste of forbidden fruit). Later he founds camaraderie in fellow poet Enrique Lihn (Taub), but his over-closeness with the latter’s dwarf girlfriend Pequeñita (Avendaño) strains their friendship. Eventually, disaffected by General Carlos Ibáñez’s ascension to power, Alejandro bids farewell to his friends and motherland, embarks a trip to Paris before squaring up with Jaime whom he will never meet again, told by his old self (Alejandro in person), a second chance only can be conjured up in its filmic illusion.

First and foremost, the octogenarian maestro still has his outlandish style in check, his trademark magic realism, wedded confidently with an ultra theatrical tableau (that old haunt Cafe Iris, peppered with soporific patrons and senile waiters in its subdued timber), grants his audience a sumptuous feast of chromatic plethora: those varicolored decor, a boisterous shindig, a risqué tarot séance, a devil-cum-death parade, not to mention bold sex exploitation, nothing can curb Mr. Jodorowsky’s soaring imagination and fond recollections, in this sense, the film is a perfect ode to his youth and a left-field Chile of that time. But, yes, there is always a “but”, what takes the film’s appeal down a peg or two is its relinquishment of mystique, of poeticism, of art and of life itself in lieu of visual impact. Its dialog fails to capture the subtlety of words and the film is overtly plain in recounting the vicissitude of incidences, the usage of poetry is self-consciously verbal and evanescent, we are not given enough time to dwell on its connotations before the story rambles on in its episodic reveries.

Adan Jodorowsky’s central performance is adequate at best, affable but far from an engrossing raconteur; Brontis Jodorowsky, on the other hand, sometimes falls into unnecessary cothurnus as if his monstrous father figure is not repugnant enough; but it is Pamela Flores, in her magnificent double roles, one as a domestic mother embodied solely by soprano, another is the red-hair, buxom dominatrix, sets the screen ablaze in addition to the Oedipal tie-in.

Admittedly, poetry is always a thorny subject to get its full treatment with cinematic parameters, Jodorowsky’s attempt has its benign intention, but doesn’t give justice to the soul of poetry, nevertheless, it is still a stunning achievement of reminiscence and self-confession, with this auteur’s idiosyncratic flourish.

referential works: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (1973, 7,7/10).

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