Fando y Lis
Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Year: 1968
TRT: 1:36

Opening scene in my own words, slightly less poetic than the artistic vision presented: Hot chick eats petals off of a flower as a mouse runs unchecked on the bed upon which she lays. Disaster sirens wail in the distance. Shit happens.

Beyond the loose structure of the narrative of a guy taking care (relatively) of his paraplegic girlfriend in a post-apocalypric world, you're pretty much on your own. It's first and foremost an "art film," with pure allegory/symbolism striking your mental orbs from the first shot. Not exactly light fare, to say the least. Narrative can roll out in a fairly rudimentary fashion, but seriously, it grows continuously surreal and fucked up as the story goes on. Placards are presented to cut it into chapters, but they're little help to explain the spiraling insanity presented here. At first this line just strikes out in a lazy pattern from the center. It's a bit later that the path takes a growingly steeper path downward.

Flashbacks to Lis and Fando's separate childhoods establishes why they're truly as fucked up as they are in the present. Quite some bastardly things going on here, in Spanish, warranting the Not Rated status given the film. What Jodorowsky does here is combine a wide range of religious, mythological and social patterns in a somewhat unsettling light. It culminates with a truly twisted display of love, justification of self-fulfillment or utter despair yet to be determined. See it for yourself, if you dare!

I have the sneaking suspicion LSD, mushrooms, peyote or some other form of psychotropic substance was used in the creation and shooting of this film. Given that, while disconcerting at times, excellent use of audio throughout the film. And the cinematographer, while occasionally overexposing a couple of scenes, does a good job shooting some pretty experimental stuff that blends the fucked-up narrative as much as possible.

Great Scene: Fando leaving Lis in a pit, and the camera follows his spiraling ascent upwards.

DVD Notes: This particular edition is part of The films of Alejandro Jodorowsky put out by Anchor Bay/abcko, and quite a contribution it is. "La Constellation Jodorowsky" is a fairly recent (mid 90's) documentary 1:25 in length, giving you an idea how idealistic Jodorowsky is through the history of his films (starting with this first feature film, that actually caused riots in Mexico when it was released due to its perceived blasphemous nature), to interviews with the man himself as well as miscellaneous private footage shot throughout his career. Also included is a photo gallery, mainly of articles written on the film at the time tagged with some production stills. Super-informative if you can read Spanish, I guess. There is also a yet-unheard commentary by Jodorowsky, only neglected due to time constraints. While I'm not too big of a fan of the film itself, this is mainly because of the symbolism lost in translation, so to speak, from time and place. This commentary is supposed to explain quite a bit, and when time is presented, I honestly think I'll get back to this one. You'll see an addendum here if I do.