2016 autobiographical sequel
Plot: Alejandro Jodorowsky's life story continues.
It's a little hard to write about this movie because I don't feel like I'm the audience for it. It feels very much like Jodorowsky is his own audience. That's not really entirely true because the themes are universal--father/son relationships, masculinity, the power of art, identity, the importance of puppets, etc. However, some of this is so personal--intensely personal--and I almost felt like an eavesdropper during one scene.
This is an extension of the first of Jodorowsky's autobiographic movies, continuing the story of Dance of Reality. If you liked that, chances are you'll like this one. If you didn't like that one, you'll dislike this one for the exact same reasons. At times, things almost get a little too silly in this magically-realistic portrayal of the artist's past. There's a moment at the very end that I wouldn't want to give away, but it's one of the cheesiest things I've seen in a while. There's also a goofy appearance of an instrumental version of "If I Were a Rich Man, a moment where two characters walk on a truck that reminded me of an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, a Torah cigar box, and a possible Flea cameo that almost distracted from the tone and made it all a little too comedic. Old-school Jodorowsky fans might say the entire movie is a little too goofy, but for the most part, I think it strikes a perfect tone as the director, one whose sense of humor isn't exactly a recent development, attempts to construct this part of his life where poetry and whimsy come alive in his life.
The movie's title is appropriate as poetry is at the center of the thing. Jodorowsky's father, played once again by Brontis Jodorowsky, tells him during an earthquake that his "mind is more powerful than any earthquake," the kind of thing that would be encouraging and motivational if it wasn't coming from abusive Jaime. Later, Jodorowsky acknowledges that his father gave him the strength "to face a world in which poetry no longer exists," something it seems almost like the director figured out during the process of writing/directing Endless Poetry. Lorca becomes influential, and along with a sidekick Jodorowsky befriends, poetry becomes an act and the meaning of life turns out to be life. It's inspiring watching an artist become an artist, and it's inspiring watching a guy with Jodorowsky's creativity and fervor living a poetic life like this, seeing that moment where he sold his devil to the soul.
Pamela Flores returns as Jodorowsky's mom, still singing all of her lines. She also plays a second character in this, and she's just stunning. The hair color, the privates-grabbing walks, the tattoos, the non-penetration sex scene beneath a water buffalo wall trophy. Her performance in the first installment was fearless; here, she's brave in a pair or roles, and I had trouble keeping my eyes off her, probably because of that aforementioned hair color.
If you have no interest in any kind of story or themes and just want to watch the world for a bit through Jodorowsky-tinted glasses, there's plenty to appreciate here. You just have to appreciate the elderly director's creative spirit, still flourishing as he closes in on the age of 90. He has plans to make three more of these movies. I'm pulling for him because I could use more of this kind of thing. It's a Fellini-esque carnival of grotesques, and although he does recycle some older ideas and images, he also hasn't run out of ideas. The guys in black moving props around, that cartoonish flasher, the look of the Cafe Iris with its zombified patrons, dog children, and the transformation of his hometown mix with skeletal dancers, clowns, an absurd use of colors, puppets, puppet boobs, the singing mother, and lots of little people to create something that can only be described as Jodorowskian. And it's all just so lovely.
Speaking of little people, you get three good little people performances here. There's a little fellow in the Cafe Iris who is great, but he's competing with a little Hitler outside of Dad's business. And then there's the lovely Julia Avendano in her only film performance, and she's spectacular. as Pequinita. And I'm not just saying that because of the sex scene. Or maybe I am. I can't even tell anymore.
There's a Tom Waits' song in this one. It's an instrumental from The Black Rider.