End­less Po­etry

END­LESS PO­ETRY, biopic, not rated, in Span­ish with sub­ti­tles, Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, 4 chiles

Pasatiempo - - ON THE COVER - — Jonathan Richards

In the early ’70s, a bizarre West­ern called El Topo shook up the cinephile world and helped to ig­nite the phe­nom­e­non of mid­night screen­ings. Devo­tees showed up night af­ter night at ur­ban art houses, usu­ally the bet­ter or worse for mind-al­ter­ing sub­stances, and pon­dered the deeper mean­ings of its heady, psy­che­delic mix of sur­re­al­ism, spir­i­tu­al­ism, and vi­o­lence.

El Topo was the work of a Chilean-French poet and artist named Alejandro Jodor­owsky, and it be­came a cult clas­sic. He fol­lowed the film with The Holy Moun­tain (1973), which en­joyed some of the same suc­cess, and then em­barked on an am­bi­tious but ill-fated adap­ta­tion of Frank Her­bert’s sci-fi clas­sic Dune, an ef­fort that never made it out of the gate (but be­came the sub­ject of a 2013 doc­u­men­tary, Jodor­owsky’s Dune). In the four decades since, Jodor­owsky has kept ab­surdly busy as a poet, au­thor, graphic nov­el­ist, comic book artist, play­wright, the­ater di­rec­tor, com­poser, spir­i­tu­al­ist, and film­maker, but he has not been much in the main­stream pub­lic eye.

In 2013 he re­leased The Dance of Re­al­ity, a film based on his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy that fo­cuses on his early life in To­copilla, Chile. He’s now picked up where that left off with a sec­ond cin­e­matic vol­ume, End­less Po­etry, which fol­lows his jour­ney into young adult­hood and his plunge into the art world. It’s an af­fec­tion­ate, ex­u­ber­ant look back from the per­spec­tive of his 88 years on the ag­o­nies and ec­stasies of a young man em­brac­ing and aban­don­ing him­self to the life of an artist. Alejandro is played as a boy by Jeremias Her­skovits, repris­ing his role in the ear­lier pic­ture, and as a young man by the film­maker’s youngest son, Adan Jodor­owsky. His older brother, Bron­tis, re­turns as Alejandro’s stern father, as does Pamela Flores as his mother, who de­liv­ers all of her di­a­logue in song.

Flores dou­bles as the poet Stella Díaz Varín, who ini­ti­ates the young man into the joys of sex, more or less. Le­an­dro Taub plays an­other fel­low poet, En­rique Lihn, with whom Alejandro em­barks on one of the movie’s most de­light­ful se­quences, a stroll through San­ti­ago in which the two young men de­cide that as po­ets, they should have li­cense to walk a straight line with­out turn­ing aside for con­ven­tional im­ped­i­ments like parked cars and pri­vate houses. Jodor­owsky him­self turns up from time to time, a white-bearded émi­nence grise of­fer­ing words of ad­vice and en­cour­age­ment to his youth­ful self. The movie is full of the kind of vis­ual ex­trav­a­gances that will en­dear it to the di­rec­tor’s ad­mir­ers, but it will also win new fans with an ac­ces­si­ble, au­di­ence-friendly story arc.

And it ends with the prom­ise of more. Jodor­owsky is re­port­edly plan­ning a film quin­tet to bring us up to date on his life. Who knows — if he lives long enough, maybe there’ll be enough for six.

Vis­ual feast: A scene from Alejandro Jodor­owsky’s End­less Po­etry

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.