Endless Poetry (Poesía Sin Fin) (2016)

ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

//, 2016, , Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by Music by Production Design by Alejandro Jodorowsky.  Costume Design by Film Editing by .

Alejandro Jodorowsky follows The Dance Of Reality with the second part of a proposed autobiographical trilogy, a film that focuses on his adolescence and coming of age as an artist. Raised by his conservative Ukrainian-Jewish parents in the Chilean city of Matucana, the young Alejandro lives under the thumb of his disapproving merchant father (, portraying his own grandfather), enraging him by announcing his desire to become a poet and not a doctor.  His awakening to a love of literature takes Alejandro away from his family and to a life among bohemian artists, at first trying puppetry before moving to poetry, flowering under the influence of his love for poet Stella Diaz and his friendship with Enrique Lihn. This is Jodorowsky, of course, so we’re not watching a traditional biopic but a surrealist fantasy in which the artist’s life is told from inside his imagination: sets populated by cardboard cutouts, the frequent appearance of the director himself as narrator, still looking hardy and formidable at 87, and the delight of portraying both his mother, who delivers all her dialogue in the form of operatic singing, and Diaz, who wears a terrific red wig almost out of Noh theatre. Beautifully shot and vibrantly expressive, it features Jodorowsky’s usual combination of beauty and grotesquerie that, when captured by the venerated Christopher Doyle, does not betray its small budget (which was raised mainly through crowd-funding), but in swapping out his son Brontis for his younger son Adan, who portrays the young adult Alejandro, the film loses something in having a less charismatic actor as star. Fans of the cult master will be in heaven, those who have never seen his work before will be, at times, appalled, and some might find the experience a bit wearing, as Jodorowsky doesn’t quite voyage through his youth as he does wander, and at times his narrative emphasizes themes (like the obsession with masculinity that he grew up with) by circling back on them more than once without feeling like he needs to.

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