Updated: Dec 8, 2019
As with all movies on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete synopsis of the movie, but rather to document how the movie relates to the meaning of life. With that said, be forewarned, there are still spoilers below.
Endless Poetry (2016) is a coming of age movie of an individual of extraordinary and controversial creativity. The movie is written and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, and is a reflection of his childhood; his departure from family, from Chile, and most importantly, from the world of the dead. Adan Jodorowsky (Alejandro's real-life son) stars in the film as Alejandro. With that said, this is not your standard coming of age story; this is Alejandro's story, his life. This film is not for kids, and some would say, despite its profound philosophical pondering, also not for adults. According to the Washington Post, this film builds off of the movie The Dance of Reality, which I haven't seen yet.
The story takes place in Chile, and details Alejandro's early childhood and teenage years. Throughout this, we follow Alejandro as he struggles to overcome his father's desire for him to become a doctor, and his internal longing to become a poet. We see Alejandro battle with death, experience heartbreak, and grapple existential questions. Often, he is found in the film trying to wake people up. That is, wake people up to the true beauty of the world. Even the artist bar he frequents is filled with people awake, but really sleeping—dreaming without color. In addition, people are often found with skeletons not far behind them, death always waiting to take them away from this world; yet everyone is unaware of the impending return to nothingness. As Alejandro would say early on, My aim is to return to that I've always been., and later to a group in a bar, Where there are ears but no song in this evanescent world, where the Being surrenders to the undeserving, I am more my footprints than my steps.
After his cousin, who happened to be homosexual, commits suicide, Alejandro rethinks life, re-imagines his existence and place in the world. He feels empty, and states I sculpt faces because I have lost mine. I haven't found myself. Reading a newfound friend's poem he discovers mortalism— Everything will vanish. Our souls will disappear. It doesn't matter. Dreams vanish too, and little by little we dissolve. Poetry, like the shadow of a flying eagle, leaves no trace on land. A poem reaches perfection when it burns.
Still not resolved, he speaks with the man he is to become, he speaks with himself:
Older self: I am the man you will be. You are the man I was. You devoted yourself to poetry and I do not regret it.
Younger self: What will I achieve?
Older self: You will learn to die in happiness.
Younger self: I'm afraid of dying.
Older self: You're afraid of living.
Younger self: I'm afraid of disappointing others.
Older self: You are not guilty for living ad you do. You'd be guilty if you lived as others wanted you to live.
Younger self: What is the meaning of life?
Older self: Life! The brain asks questions, the heart gives the answers. Life does not have meaning, you have to live it! Live! Live! Live!
Later in the movie, Alejandro discovers Absurdism and states, Life is a game. You have to laugh at everything even the worst things!
Finally, near the end of the movie, he sits down and has the following epic monologue with himself:
What is the purpose of your existence? Why are you alive? I have never been alive, I was born dead. Another dead man among the dead... Another dead man among the dead. I will grow old, die, rot. Nothingness will swallow my memory, my words, my consciousness. Everything that is mine in the dark depths of oblivion. These streets will disappear too. My friends... the city, the planet! The moon, the sun, the stars! The entire universe. Damned reflection! What do I do with this anguish you've injected into me?
His older self appears and says to him: Old age is not a humiliation. You detach yourself from everything. From sex, from wealth, from fame. You detach yourself from yourself. You turn... into a butterfly, a radiant butterfly, a being... of pure light!
In the end, before he departs for Paris, his father tries to stop him. They argue, and after fighting, they shake hands. He would never see his father again. On the boat looking back at his friends, his family, you hear his older self: I have learnt to be. I have learnt to love. I have learnt to create. I learnt to live. Every path is my path. Opening my heart I hear the worst in the world.
As one can see from the above, Alejandro Jodorowsky thinks genuinely about life and answers in his own way the question, "What is the meaning of life?". No blog post, movie review, or written work could fully capture the essence or meaning of a Jodorowsky film. His films are just something you must watch for yourself. With that said, some scenes are very graphic, and as such, the film is not for everyone.
More information about the film can be found at www.endlesspoetrythemovie.com.
We rate the movie as follows:
Overall - 7
Meaning of Life Relevance - 10
Uniqueness – 10
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