When Alejandro (Jeremias Herskovits) was a teenage lad in Chile, his father (Brontis Jodorowsky) took the family out of their quiet village home by the ocean and moved them to the capital city, which his son did not like at all, finding it far rougher and more difficult to get along with than his former home. For instance, there was the time he was setting off to work in his father's clothes shop and he was interrupted by a drunkard having his guts stabbed out in the street, which caused a further ruckus when the local kids descended on him as he lay dying to steal his shoes and valuables. His father criticised Alejandro for being late, then told him to watch out for thieves in the shop, as much because his father took great pleasure in beating them up and humiliating them...
Where, you may ask, is the poetry in that? The poetry that the young Alejandro Jodorowsky, future cult movie maker extraordinaire, knew would enhance his life to the extent that it became his whole reason for being? Well, if in reality his younger days were a lot grimmer than we saw here, though they had their moments and plenty of them, then with the filter of the passage of time he could look back and divine the genuinely artistic in those days, after all his particular creative sensibility had to have stemmed from somewhere. Therefore if you knew his work, and how, shall we say, offbeat it could be, you would be well prepared for the weirdness that he decided was part and parcel of his existence.
It would help if you had seen The Dance of Reality, the first film in his nostalgic series of a proposed five, as this continued precisely from where that concluded, but it was not essential as you would get the gist fairly quickly even as you surmised whether this was a movie for you or otherwise. It was true to say the sincerity in Jodorowsky's tribute to his formative years was in every scene, so it was not as if this was some put on, you could tell he meant every word and scene, but that was disarming in its way. There were scenes here where you may well find yourself laughing out loud but not being sure if that was the correct reaction when the actors were never giving anything away about what the correct response should be.
Alejandro was played by three actors this time, the teenager by Herskovits, the older (but still young) man by the director's son Adan Jodorowsky, and the man himself dropping in at random intervals to impart various gems of wisdom drawn from a life that was now approaching his nineties, so if anyone knew what the meaning of existence was, it was someone who had been searching for it all that time. That said, maybe his conclusions were not exactly surprising, basically seize the day because you never know what tomorrow may bring and that essential ignorance makes each passing hour precious and not to be wasted, yet this could be something worth reiterating, especially in a series of anecdotes such as Endless Poetry. Through it all, Alejandro meets all sorts of eccentrics who approach that in their own methods.
And still there is the shadow of his father, fascistic and cruel as Jodorowsky regarded his country turning to as the dictatorships took hold, and someone he would have to reconcile with just as he reconciled with the land of his birth, except the sole manner he could do this was through his art, as you had the impression his actual father would never have courted that kind of attention or even love: respect, fair enough, but the affection Alejandro got from his singing mother (Pamela Flores) was denied from his other parent. This drive to express himself as a journey to finding his place in the world shaped the plot, such as it was, a series of interconnected episodes where the creator's patented oddities and appreciation of how the out of the ordinary can enhance your time were well to the fore, be that his first girlfriend, a poet who paints her leg rainbow and her breasts gold and nearly gets him gang raped in a gay bar, or his best friend, another poet who one day invites him to walk in a straight line across the city, even through houses, and that's not even mentioning the dwarf sex which sounds exploitative but is actually a meeting of minds tinged with sadness. This was definitely one for the fans (it was crowdfunded), but Jodorowsky's assurance never wavered. Music by Adan.