Monday, August 01, 2022

Endless Poetry


Written, narrated, designed, and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Poesia sin fin (Endless Poetry) is a sequel to the 2013 film La danza de la realidad that is about Jodorowsky’s life as it explore him being as an adolescent who grows into adulthood where he discovers bohemian culture in Santiago. The film is an exploration of Jodorowsky’s own growth into adulthood as well as the events that would define his young life with Jeremias Herskovits reprising his role as the teenage Jodorowsky with Adan Jodorowsky as the young adult Jodorowsky. Also starring Brontis Jodorowsky, Pamela Flores, Leandro Taub, Julia Avendano, Felipe Rios, Carolyn Carlson, Bastian Bodenhofer, and Felipe Pena. Poesia sin fin is an intoxicating and heartfelt film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Set from the late 1940s and early 1950s in Santiago in the then-working class neighborhood of Matucana, the film is about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s time as a young teenager trying to find himself where he eventually becomes part of the bohemian culture where he finds his love for poetry and art while dealing with growing pains as a young man. It is a film that explore this man’s search for himself after having to leave his childhood home and live in this town where so much is happening after the events of World War II. Jodorowsky’s screenplay is loosely structured in the way it play into his own development from his time as a young teenager who feels stifled by the pressures of his family and eventually discovering a new home in the first act with the second act being about his first love and also finding friendship with another poet to the third act being about Jodorowsky gaining some success but political and social changes would emerge that would force him to flee Chile. It is a story in which Jodorowsky himself would appear as he reflects on these events but also in reconciling with the past including his relationship with his parents.

Jodorowsky’s direction is definitely stylish in not just its overall presentation that is shot on location at the Matucana neighborhood but also infusing it with actual locations and artificial sets. Notably as Jodorowsky opens the film in that neighborhood as it is in the mid-2010s and then transforms it through a mixture of backgrounds and such to show the neighborhood as it was in the late 1940s in his father’s shop where the teenage Alejandro works at where he reluctantly beats up a thief who was trying to steal clothes at his father’s shop. There is a lot of style that Jodorowsky would put into his direction as there would be actors covered in black clothing from head to toe who would serve as props to get a small object for a performer or scenes that play into this strange world that the young Jodorowsky would go into such as a bar that is filled with artists that often serves as a place of those who come to die as it is a place where Jodorowsky and his friends would frequent.

Serving as the film’s production designer with additional help from art directors Patricio Aguilar and Denise Lira-Ratinoff, Jodorowsky does create a world that is unique that play into the young Jodorowsky’s journey in the way the homes of the bohemian community including a few friends of Jodorowsky such as the poet Enrique Lihn (Leandro Taub) and his first lover in another poet in Stella Diaz Larin (Pamela Flores) although they’re portrayed in a fictional version. Jodorowsky’s usage of the wide and medium shots play into the world that his younger self would go into as well as some usage in the latter to play into some of the intimate moments. Jodorowsky also play into his own recollection about his time as a young adult where for all of its eccentricities and artistic rebellion. There was always a part of him that felt unfulfilled as the film’s ending does mirror the ending of its predecessor yet it also has Jodorowsky appear to express some regret over the things he never go to say or do. Overall, Jodorowsky crafts a rapturous yet whimsical film about his life as he comes of age into a young man who is trying to find himself.

Cinematographer Christopher Doyle does incredible work with the film’s vibrant and colorful cinematography as its usage of lighting to play up the colors in the daytime along with some unique lighting for some of the interiors at night as well as some of the exterior scenes as it is a highlight of the film. Editor Maryline Monthieux does excellent work with the editing as it has elements of style in the jump-cuts yet much of it is straightforward to play into the humor and drama. Costume designer Pascale Montandon-Jodorowsky does fantastic work with the look of the clothes in the many costumes the young Jodorowsky and his friends wear as well as the look of Stella Diaz Larin.

Visual effects supervisor Felipe Astorga does nice work with the visual effects that is largely bits of set dressing that help play into the look of the city of what it looked like in the late 1940s/early 1950s. Sound editor Sandy Notarianni does superb work with the sound as it is largely straightforward as well as it play into the atmosphere of the locations as well as the way live music is presented in carnivals and such. The film’s music by Adan Jodorowsky does amazing work with the film’s score that is a mixture of circus-based music as well as some somber orchestral pieces to play into the sense of drama and reflection while the music soundtrack feature an array of standards and folk music of those times.

The casting by Roberto Matus A. and Roberto Matus is wonderful as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Kaori Ito as the Japanese dancer Cana, Felipe Pena as the composer Gustavo Becerra-Schmidt, Bastian Bodenhofer as the famed Chilean leader Carlos Ibanez del Campo whose return to the country would force the young Jodorowsky to leave Chile, Montserrat Lopez and Patricia Pardo as two sisters who own a house for all of the starving artists to live in that includes the young Alejandro, Carolyn Carlson as an American tarot reader in Maria LeFevre, Julia Avendano as a dwarf-like woman in Pequenita who would become a lover for both Lihn and the young Jodorowsky, and Felipe Rios as the famed poet/physicist Nicanor Parra who was an idol for the young Jodorowsky as he would appear late in the film for some advice that the young Jodorowsky wouldn’t take. Leandro Taub is fantastic as the poet who would become a friend and collaborator of the young Jodorowsky as they would embark on things that would give them artistic inspiration.

Pamela Flores is excellent in a dual role as Alejandro’s mother Sara who often operatically sings her dialogue as she laments over her son while the other role is a fictionalized version of the poet Stella Diaz Larin who would become the young Jodorowsky’s muse and his first love as she gives him ideas for his poems. Jeremias Herskovits is superb in his small role as the teenage Jodorowsky as a young man just trying to figure himself out as he would eventually let out his anger during a visit to his relatives. Brontis Jodorowsky is brilliant as Jodorowsky’s father Jaime as a communist salesman who is trying to get his son to not endure failure as he disapproves his son becoming a poet while he has this great moment in the film’s final moments that play into a sense of regret and acceptance. Finally, there’s Adan Jodorowsky in an incredible performance as a young version of his father as he brings in a lot of innocence, energy, and charisma to play into a man trying to find himself but also lamenting over what to do next despite the gift that he has.

Poesia sin fin is a tremendous film from Alejandro Jodorowsky. Featuring a great ensemble cast, incredible visuals, amazing art direction, a compelling coming-of-age story, and a mesmerizing music score. The film is definitely an engaging and exhilarating film from Jodorowsky that is also one of his most accessible for a filmmaker that is known for making weird cult films. In the end, Poesia sin fin is a spectacular film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Alejandro Jodorowsky Films: La Cravate - Teatro sin fin - Fando y Lis - El Topo - The Holy Mountain - Tusk (1980 film) - Santa Sangre - The Rainbow Thief - The Dance of Reality - Psychomagic: A Healing Art

Related: Jodorowsky's Dune - The Auteurs #59: Alejandro Jodorowsky

© thevoid99 2022


Brittani Burnham said...

I need to actually see some of his work. All I know him from is Jodorowsky's Dune and boy did I hate that.

thevoid99 said...

I'd start with El Topo and The Holy Mountain as those are the films that defined him and then go to Santa Sangre which is a terrifying film to watch. Then I'd go for The Dance of Reality and this film as I think these 2 are his most accessible films to date. I have one more film of his to watch and I'll have finished his body-of-work so far. He is an eccentric individual that is not for everyone but he is truly one-of-a-kind.