Fando y Lis


Fando y Lis
Alejandro Jodorowsky, Mexico
1968 (Spanish, English subtitles)
Producciones Pánicas
93 minutes

LATAMROB rating: ***

ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY’S first film, Fando y Lis, is surreal cinema at its best, or worst, depending on the meaning such terms can possibly have when discussing a director who evolved in a parallel universe to much of the movie world for his entire career. It may not be the best introduction to this avant-garde Chilean film-maker’s work, but it is perhaps the best introduction to the person of Jodorowsky himself – whose colourful career has taken in far more than just cinema. Loosely based on a play by Fernando Arrabal, the film tells of the search by Fando and his partially paralysed lover Lis for Tar, a mythical city. Arrabal was a close collaborator of Jodorowsky, initiating with him the El Pánico performance art movement in Paris. Stylistically innovative and set in a form of static, haunting theatrical time that Jodorowsky manages to recreate subsequently throughout such movies as The Holy Mountain, El Topo, and Santa Sangre, Fando y Lis is perhaps best known for provoking a riot at its premiere during the 1968 Acapulco Film Festival, forcing Jodorowsky to sneak from the cinema to a waiting limousine – which was then pelted by an angry mob with rocks. When the film later opened to sell-out crowds in Mexico City it provoked fights in the audiences and was then banned by the Mexican government. You either love the work of this director or you hate it. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it. – EC