Deeply personal cinema continues unabated over at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, which three years ago hosted Chilean psychotropic visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky's (El Topo, Holy Mountain) return to the world of film after more than twenty years away. That film was The Dance of Reality, a darkly joyful, surrealist autobiography of the director and his father’s time in the Chilean town of Tocopilla in the 1930s. After a successful and inspiringly creative Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaign to secure funding for a follow-up, we now have Endless Poetry, a continuation of the fantastic saga of Jodorowsky himself (played by one of the director’s sons, Adan Jodorowsky) leaving his town for the big city to become a poet in the 1940s.
Clearly the second part in what must be an intended trilogy, Endless Poetry is more halting and less expansive than its predecessor, but no less personal, plunging into Santiago's artists' scene with obvious pleasure. Whether in the brash confessional side of its anecdotes of Jodorowsky’s life under his loving but deeply conservative father, or in the phantasmagoric flourishes fans of the director love so much, small (a trembling earthquake in the family home during a fight between father and son) and large moments (a tremendous white, black and red parade of skeletons), the film spins a private fantasia out of memories, dreams, desires, the surrounding culture particular to the historical moment in Chile.
These disparate parts are touchingly held intact by the performance of Adan, a large-framed, smooth-skinned and sensitive man cast too old for the part of a neophyte urban poet, but this disjunctive aspect somehow makes his channeling of his father’s fervor, worries and wanderings all the more tender. But most moving of all is Jodorowsky the director, now 87, who periodically shows up within the drama next to others—even next to his son playing himself in youth—and speaks of his time, then, recreated now with his family. For a visionary whose cult films have always so giddily collapsed fantasy into reality, this conjuring of his own story through his family, all together, in the cinema—it is something special and enchanting.