Poesia Sin Fin (Endless Poetry)CultureCinemaMovie reviews
Possibly Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s best work, his autobiographical Endless Poetry is an inspired celebration of art and artists. Shot in his boyhood town of Santiago, the sound of seagulls and surreal visuals introduce the piece, which is immediately alive with prolifically symbolic and exuberant collages of images. With a gorgeous set, black and white two-dimensional forms combine with colourful cinematography. Unusual circus-like characters abound, including masked women with pendulous bare breasts, a tiny Hitler and policemen on stilts. Jodorowsky himself appears, waxing nostalgic about the past, illustrated sardonically by a scene of a man murdered and gutted in the street. Felliniesque with echoes of Buñuel, the film’s irony and interactions also contain hints of Woody Allen. An influence of Brechtian theatrical alienation is suggested in elements such as faceless cloaked figures moving the set and objects within scenes.
Jodorowsky as a boy (Jeremias Herskovits) concludes he wishes to be a poet but his autocratic father (the director’s son Brontis Jodorowsky) forbids it, declaring art is for homosexuals. His mother (Pamela Flores) speaks in operatic song, implying disconnection from reality. The young Alejandro reacts to his father’s oppression by at first pretending he wants to become a doctor, then rebelling. Escaping to an artists’ commune, he encounters various Alice in Wonderland-type figures who live their art, from a ballet dancer always in a tutu on her toes to a painter who ecstatically covers himself with paint.
In a cafe with robotically slow elderly waiters and dozing patrons, 20-ish Alejandro (son Adan Jodorowsky) meets and loses his virginity to a wild, irreverent, quite violent lady poet, Stella Diaz (Pamela Flores) – a rite of passage ending when she subjects him to near rape by a gang of thugs. Upon deciding to leave for Paris to “Save Surrealism”, Alejandro encounters a masked crowd with swastikas following a dictator. Trying desperately to tell them they are idiots, he is ignored.
In dialogue with himself, Jodorowsky appears, telling his younger incarnation: “You’re not guilty for living the way you do. You’d be guilty if you lived as others want you to live.” When Alejandro asks him “What is the meaning of life?”, he responds: “Life has no meaning. You have to live it. Live!”
Brilliantly directed and acted, Endless Poetry is a dreamlike memoir. An exultation of existing purely for art, it is a feast of symbolic imagery; a remarkably rich, evocative, highly engaging and enjoyable composition.
Poesia Sin Fin (Endless Poetry) is released nationwide on 6th January 2017.
Watch the trailer for Poesia Sin Fin (Endless Poetry) here: