The trailer above does not include English subtitles however all films in the Cine Latino Film Festival will screen with English subtitles.
In this surreal autobiographical film (the second in a planned pentalogy), we follow the early life of future director Alejandro Jodorowsky as he escapes from under the stifling grasp of his conservative Jewish father, into the colourful, vibrant life of the Chilean art and poetry scene during the 1940s and 50s.
Alejandro Jodorowsky has been making films for a long, long time, and it seems that in creating Endless Poetry he wanted to offer not just a context for where he came from, but an affirmation of his choice to pursue a life of artistic meaning. Certainly, this is a film that is given to reflection, and even the occasional firm guidance as Alejandro speaks directly to his past self, and to the audience – he gives every impression of having no regrets regarding the life path he has chosen, and there is something captivating about that.
There are certainly moments where he lingers over some regret or mistake, but if there’s one theme this film is constantly coming back to, it’s that life is a beautiful thing. No matter what comes your way, there is still something wondrous to enjoy. For anyone of a creative bent, especially those with a predisposition to the melancholic, it has a rather refreshing, exuberant effect.
The film itself is a treat for the eyes, bringing the artistic scene of mid-20th century Chile to life in a way that might never have existed in a literal sense, but one that was certainly real – carried in the hearts and minds of those who lived through it. If nothing else, this film is a wonderful work of imagination, and it can enjoyed by simply waiting to see what the next piece of bizarre imagery is going to be.
Nothing less is to be expected from the man who bought the world such surrealist films as El Topo and The Holy Mountain, but the good news for more traditional audiences is that unlike much of Jodorowshy’s earlier work, this film is actually quite linear and easy enough to follow. There’s certainly enough symbolic, psychedelic scenery for anyone to indulge in, but the film’s heart beats through loud and clear at so many intervals that you never lose touch with the emotional core of the film, which is always the greatest danger for an abstract production. Some fans of his opaquer work may take issue with this and with the fourth wall breaking elements being perhaps a bit too on the nose, but in all honesty I found it a relief.
With all these elements in mind, it’s hard not to recommended this film as a sort of magical realist period piece akin to the French film Amelie – it’s likely to give you a similar spring in your step upon viewing.
Reviewed by Brendan Whittaker
Rating out of 10: 9