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Endless Poetry: An Endless Celebration of Life’s Whimsy and Darkness

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suyruCTA2I4&w=640&h=360]

There are certain directors whose new movies should be cause for jubilation. One of them, without any argument, should be the legendary cult Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. Once the premiere filmmaker for the beautiful philosophies and absurdities one would associate with the surreal (and predating those like David Lynch and Nicolas Winding Refn, who Jodorowsky would eventually become a mentor of sorts to) with films like El Topo and Santa Sangre, Jodorowsky took an extended period of time off after his last film The Rainbow Thief took a harsh toll on him. When it seemed he would only be a fixture on the Q&A circuit, in 2013, Jodorowsky made an audaciously triumphant return with The Dance of Reailty (La danza de la realidad), the first in a multi-part autobiography of sorts mixing philosophies and styles together. As the second entry in the anthological series, Endless Poetry (Poesía sin fin) demonstrates, the story’s really getting fired up and the man behind the camera is still firing on all cylinders.

Beginning immediately where the introductory title ended – a family standing on a small boat heading into an uncertain future as cardboard cutouts of the people they’ve interacted with “wave” goodbye – the Jodorowskys have relocated from their home of Tocopilla to the Chilean capital of Santiago, where father Jaime (played again by Jodorowsky’s eldest son Brontis) has demonstrated the empathy he discovered in his earlier endeavors was short lived when he subjects two diminutive customers to an especially demeaning abuse outside his shoe store early on, something that carries over into his daily family life. Young Alejandro (also returning is Brontis’s son Jeremias Herskovits to play his grandfather as a younger man) has come to that point all youths reach in life where he’s ready to break away from his father’s near tyrannical ideals of life and lead what he feels destined for.

Fate, and the advice of the director himself, lends a helping hand in the form of a book of Federico García Lorca’s poems, scratching the itch this artistry has left Alejandro with. Jaime, refusing to let his son grow up to become a maricon (you’ll have to look the meaning up on that one for yourselves), forbids the pursuit and demands his son become a doctor in the only way he knows how: harsh intimidation and a psychological effect that’s one of the film’s most visually comedic set pieces. Alejandro’s response: to run away from home, boarding with a group of performers and artists who help him navigate his burgeoning adulthood and what lies ahead on the road to becoming a great poet. As a young adult – beautifully played by Jodorowsky’s youngest son Adan, also serving as the film’s composer – a voyage of adulthood is charted through the bastions of life that will define the man Alejandro becomes, both on and off camera.

First off, homage is demanded for Jodorowsky. Much like its predecessor, Endless Poetry, with such a beautifully opulence and absurdity that ranks with the very best of his oeuvre, is well on its way to becoming part of one of the most ambitious experiments ever committed to narrative film. The idea of an artist using his preferred medium to explore their backstory and those events that shaped their lives is not unheard of, but Jodorowsky, well into his 88th year and armed with quite the storied life, is railroading past the set expectations and, thankfully, showing no signs of stopping. Armed with the lush imagery of legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle, the exaggerated yet meticulously crafted costumes designed by his wife Pascale and his own stylish reimagining of 1940s Santiago, Jodorowsky’s vision is quite the whimsical experience that further reflects his place as one of international cinema’s most foremost artists.

But there is also the darkness that humanity’s penchant for whimsy is intertwined by, both from the the threat of the changing political climate to the behaviors of close friends and family. A good portion of the film where Alejandro discovers his sexuality, after earlier acknowledging his own heterosexuality at the cost of a friendship with a lovelorn cousin who ultimately comes to a less than whimsical fate, when taking tempestuous poet Stella Díaz Varín as his lover goes to be one of Endless Poetry’s most meditative and provocative sequences. Not because of some deeply philosophical idea about poetry and art broached by the story, but Jodorowsky’s decision to have Pamela Flores, the same actress playing Alejandro’s musically oriented mother Sara (which she also reprises here), play Varín. Much like The Dance of Reality, there’s a certain life that comes to Endless Poetry when Ms. Flores is on-screen, be it as mother or “whore.” Here, with her vibrant crimson locks, theatrical outfits and Fellini-esque tattoos and body paints, it is the embodiment of white-hot passion, rage, jealousy and a perverse beauty that will no doubt inform Alejandro’s talents as poet and inevitable filmmaker.

Once Varín leaves the picture, Alejandro’s relationships with poets like Enrique Lihn (Leandro Taub) and Nicanor Parra (Felipe Ríos) come to be as tempestuous as the ones built on love for their conflicting natures and ideals. The former is constantly undermined by the decisions he’s made in life – and those life has made for him – while Parra comes to believe the world cannot be salvaged by art, preceding a chilling moment where the Chilean people come to support the Nazi-like President Ibañez, waiving swastika flags and adorned in masks blurring actual identity from nationalist idealism. Jodorowsky isn’t afraid to comment on the dark hours of a nation’s descent into madness, but rarely does it feel as raw as it does in these moments, especially when considering what will follow.

The cult heroine Auntie Mame once proclaimed “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” When it comes to Mr. Jodorowsky’s visual poetry, whether it’s endless or isn’t, it is a banquet that gives its admirers plenty to gorge on and still overwhelm the sensations. And, much like its young protagonist disappearing into a fog of uncertainty, Endless Poetry ends on a note of uncertainty and melancholy for what came before, but acknowledging there’s still beauty in life to be found beyond the fog bank, just as there’s beauty and whimsy to be awed by in what lies ahead in the next three chapters of Jodorowsky’s magnum opus.

Endless Poetry is currently playing in limited release and will be expanding out from ABKCO Films over the course of the summer.

By William Coffey

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Frogfathers lessons from the Normandy surf

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Frog Fathers: Lessons from the Normandy Surf” is a deeply moving documentary directed by Bob Whitney, narrated by John C McGinley, and presented by World of Warships and FORCE BLUE. It chronicles the journey of four Navy SEAL veterans revisiting the site of the D-Day landings to honor their forefathers and gain a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made during World War II.

The film’s strength lies in its raw emotional impact and historical significance. It blends personal narratives with archival footage, offering a poignant tribute to the bravery and resilience of those who fought on June 6, 1944. The veterans’ reflections and the cinematography effectively capture the solemnity and reverence of their pilgrimage.

While the documentary focuses primarily on the veterans’ experiences, it also serves as an educational tool, highlighting the strategic importance of the Normandy invasion and its pivotal role in shaping modern history. The film’s respectful approach and engaging storytelling make it a compelling watch for anyone interested in military history and the enduring legacy of the D-Day heroes.

Overall, “Frog Fathers” is a powerful and heartfelt documentary that honors the past while inspiring present and future generations to remember the sacrifices made for freedom 

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American Horror Story: Delicate

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As most of us are already aware, the 12th Season of AHS has been fraught with all kinds of differences to the previous seasons, mainly in that this is the first one to be based entirely off a novel, ‘Delicate Condition’ by Danielle Valentine. The first half of the season aired in October 2023 to mediocre reviews, while the SAG-AFTRA strike caused production and airing delays for the latter half of the season, and the episodes of Part 2 were all cut to less than an hour long apiece. And none of that is even getting into the disjointed attempt at storytelling for Season 12, so let’s dive into this! 

Meet Anna Victoria Alcott (Emma Roberts), former young ling star of Hollywood now struggling to recapture fame as an adult, who wants a baby, very very badly. Bad enough to drive herself and her husband Dex (Matt Czuchry) through multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF (in-vitro fertilization), bad enough to keep trying no matter how crushing each failure turns out to be, bad enough to involve her purported best friend and bougie publicist Siobhan Corbyn (Kim Kardashian) in her struggles, and maybe, just maybe, bad enough to give up on a burgeoning resurgence of her career after interest in her comeback role for The Auteur begins garnering her Oscar-worthy attention. 

So, Anna and Dex are going to go through yet another round of IVF, likely one of their last attempts at it, from a different doctor, Dr. Andrew Hill (Denis O’Hare), and clinic based on Siobhan’s recommendation. And already, strange things are beginning to happen to Anna – her appointments that she set herself begin springing up incorrectly, a doom saying woman called Preacher (Julia White) shows up spouting warnings about trusting no one, dire warnings appear in unlikely places, and BTW, it seems as though long-suffering but good-nurtured Dex has a side-piece too. It doesn’t help that Dex’s new partner at his art gallery, Sonia Shawcross (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), bears a striking resemblance to his dead ex-wife Adeline, either. Those spiked emerald heels start appearing weirdly too, and it seems as though no one will listen to Anna as she grows more and more suspicious that some sort of sinister cult has designs on her as-yet-unborn baby. At the same time, Anna tries to live the life of a successful returning actress, attending parties and gallery openings while draping her rapidly-expanding middle in shimmering fabrics and actively ‘campaigning’ for that little golden statue that most actors covet. Competition is fierce, even among her co-stars of The Auteur, and while Anna wants to be supportive of her fellow entertainers, she clearly appears to be incapable of doing both at the same time – wanting the baby and the little gold award at the same time is too much to ask, apparently. 

Elsewhere, mostly in the past, various women in states of desperation formed from one situation or another are visited by sinister-looking women in prim black dresses, headgear reminiscent of – to me anyway – an odd cross betwixt birds and bunnies, my guess is an ostensive nod to fertility in general, and a general feeling of blood-bound witchery about them at critical moments of crossroad choices. 

Though the second half of the season moves a good deal faster than the first, the attempts at callbacks and reminder flashes to Part 1 hit with all the impact of a dropped bag of garbage onto their friends Talia’s (Julia Canfield) borrowed bougie kitchen floor – splat, into incomprehensible silence, from all parties, both characters and audience, concerned. Even the reminders that, in Part 1 of Delicate Dex’s mother Virginia Harding (Debra Monk) did indeed have perfectly valid memories of abuse at the hands of a black cult and Dex’s own father Dex Sr. (Reed Birney), the revelation pales and peels away in the face of Dex’s true parentage. 

Which brings us back around full circle kinda sorta, to the only real character worth a damn in this entire miserable season of strange feminism and aspirations of world domination through a kind of idiotic Rosemary’s Baby nightmare scenario, we should have known she’d steal the show when Kardashian was cast for it, Siobhan Corbyn, leader of the blood cult her high and mighty (old) self. Throughout the whole show her character has remained exactly the same, and it’s a wonder Anna can stare at her all stupefied while Siobhan does her villain speech at the end of the last episode. Siobhan never masked her ambition or greed, her mysterious protective vibe and even deep love for Anna, and can always be counted on to have secret plans of her own, already in motion, bitch. 

The idea that Anna herself was used as a surrogate for Siobhan and her incestuous eugenicist plans, plus the sweet little demon baby she just birthed, has an ironic the-world-is-tilting-the-wrong-way kind of witchy madness to it. Sure, Anna really can have it all, the baby and the golden statue, if only she joins the patriarchy-crushing cabal of blood witches with world domination plans, got it. 

I have questions, or I would have, but things are moving on and Anna is being saved by … Dex’s dead ex, Adaline the former member of the coven right okay her, she’s going to show back up and offer Anna a simple chant to Hestia her patron Goddess, and that is somehow enough to deal with Siobhan entirely – poof. And finally, after all that rigamarole, decades of planning and scheming and witchy plotting finally settled, Anna really can have it all as a White Witch of Hollywood, heaven help us, with her perfectly human baby and that damned little golden statue, clutched in an only slightly desperate grip. 

As with any season of AHS there are a great deal of statements that could be implied just under the skin of the season – the canker way of ambition, the millenia-old pain of a woman giving birth, the savagery and bloodshed that comes with bringing forth life, pushback against both the patriarchy and ultra-feminism, the absolute desperation of humans wanting to have a child, and perhaps strangest and most open to interpretation of all, what it means to be feminine. The worlds population of women who can’t or don’t or simply won’t have children, for any reason or none, are relegated to servants, expendable servants at that, for this new world order that Siobhan is proposing, and that is far too close a comfort to things like outright slavery. A dictator is a dictator, no matter how great she looks in those emerald spiked heels. 

It’s not the really beautiful grotesquerie that Ryan Murphy and his AHS gang are often known for, nor is it utterly terrible and should be burned at the stake. What Delicate should be, is put back together with missing and cut footage, an hour long per episode again come on folks, fleshed some more of Siobhan’s baby-stealing adventures in the past and given us an actual reason to like anything about the whiny Anna, at least the Part 2 we as longtime AHS fans deserve. Toss in some more spidery hijinks! Give us the actual origin of those weird feather bunny-ear headdresses! 

American Horror Story Delicate the whole season can be seen on FX! 

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Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery in a World Gone Prehistoric!

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Hold onto your hats, dino fans! The highly anticipated sequel to the adrenaline-pumping Camp Cretaceous saga is here, and it’s taking us on a wild ride six years in the making. Following the harrowing events of Camp Cretaceous, our beloved “Nublar Six” are back, but they’re not out of the woods just yet. In fact, they’re about to plunge headfirst into a world where dinosaurs roam freely alongside dangerous humans, and trust us when we say, it’s a Jurassic jungle out there!

Picture this: a world where survival isn’t just about avoiding sharp-toothed predators but also navigating the treacherous waters of human greed and deceit. As our resilient heroes reunite in the aftermath of a heart-wrenching tragedy, they quickly realize that danger lurks around every corner, and trust is a luxury they can’t afford. 

But wait, there’s more! Prepare to embark on a globetrotting adventure like no other as the Nublar Six find themselves thrust into the heart of a conspiracy that threatens not only the fragile balance between dinosaurs and humanity but also their very existence. From the lush jungles of Isla Nublar to the bustling streets of bustling cities, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions as our intrepid group races against time to uncover the truth about one of their own and, ultimately, save both dinosaur and humankind from certain doom.

So, dear readers, if you thought you’d seen it all in Jurassic Park, think again! With heart-stopping action, pulse-pounding suspense, and jaw-dropping revelations, this latest installment promises to be a game-changer in the Jurassic universe. Get ready to roar with excitement because Jurassic Park: Unraveling the Mystery is about to take a bite out of your imagination and leave you hungry for more!

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