This review is dedicated to Youtube film critic Ada Johnston aka YourMovieSucks (YMS). Without you, I wouldn’t even know who Alejandro Jodorowsky is.
Endless Poetry is a film from Alejandro Jodorowsky, the Chilean writer and director known for such arthouse classics as The Holy Mountain and El Topo. This semi-autobiographical feature explores Jodorowsky’s life as a young Chilean escaping his family and joining a bohemian artistic circle so that he can truly pursue his dreams of becoming a poet. While Jodorowsky’s name sounds familiar, I have not seen any of his movies until now and this one probably isn’t a great introduction.
The film shines brightest on a technical level. Often feeling as if it is a play adds to the pre-existing weirdness. Endless Poetry isn’t hard to watch as much as it is difficult to comprehend what factors into the more humorous moments. Editing messes with the timeline and that’s probably what Jodorowsky wanted to do. Stunning visual filmmaking gives the film a sense of scope and the average looking color palette exemplifies an average looking life. Watching the on-location recreation of Santiago, Chile was surprisingly fun. The strings-based music is also fitting for the era.
Because I went into this film blind, I didn’t have any expectations for the acting, so that element blew me away. While I can’t consider any of these performances to be Oscar worthy, the actors play their parts well enough; some of which often over-act to reflect whatever they’re personifying. I respect each one for helping the director fulfill his vision of being grounded while still seeming surreal. The only character I can discuss without giving spoilers is the protagonist, younger Alejandro. Jodorowsky’s son Adan portrays his father and he’s able to convey enough emotion in order to look believable. I’m not too knowledgeable about Alejandro but I assume Adan filled his father’s shoes well.
Jodorowsky’s writing illustrates how this film isn’t for everyone. I don’t exclusively watch big budget studio movies and the same case follows for art films; however, Endless Poetry will no doubt appeal more to the latter. Watching young Alejandro go through various trials and tribulations in his life is intriguing to say the least, even if some of those events are too abstract to be true. Not everything captivated me, though, thereby interrupting the pacing several times. The film also contains many subtle and not-so-subtle uses of symbolism that may not stick with me for too long because they often come off as pretentious. I still respect Jodorowsky’s conviction especially since he continues to make movies at 88; Ridley Scott hasn’t hit as many home runs at 79, and he’s a much more recognized director. In fact, criticizing Endless Poetry objectively feels unfair; I’ll probably enjoy the film more after watching his other movies and further understanding his intentions because “for the fans” definitely applies in this case.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
Endless Poetry isn’t a bad movie, but I’m not quite sure it’s for me. The film is well made enough for Jodorowsky fans and arthouse fans to surly enjoy; everyone else should go see War for the Planet of the Apes since both movies come out on the same weekend. If Jodorowsky’s older features are streaming on Filmstruck, then I’ll consider a subscription more than I already am.