Fando Y Lis

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Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Slight spoilers:

This was my first experience with Jodorowsky after hearing his name thrown around as one of the great surrealist directors, right along side David Lynch. This was a big reputation to fill out and though this isn’t one of his big two (I also own El Topo and Holy Mountain but random chance led to me throwing this one on instead), he satisfied my craving for the bizarre in a mostly admirable way.

The first parts of the film were off putting to me. A constant criticism of Lynch is that he is simply weird for weirdness sake and there is little depth behind the images, a sentiment I have always found to be highly inaccurate, but in regard to Jodorowsky, I feared it may become true.

Even now that I’m finished with it and have had a week or two to reflect upon it, I’m still uncertain there is much depth behind many of his images, provocative though they may be. This however, is not a completely bad thing. I mean, how else would I want a surreal, post apocalyptic, adult fairy tale with themes about the purgatory that is an abusive relationship?

The films story is mostly simplistic: A man named Fando takes his paralyzed girlfriend on a journey to a mythical town called Tar. Along the way, in true fable form, they encounter many strange people and things that mirror the issues they face within their relationship.

There are some striking scenes and those that worked best seemed to be those most heavy handed in their meaning. Fando abuses Lis only to find himself punished by a bunch of made feminists who throw balls at him. Later they argue and transvestites make them change close in a metaphor for experiencing empathy for what the other experiences.

In the end, their entire voyage remains as fruitless and repetitive as any volatile relationship and freedom is only found in the most obvious ways. The tragedy of it lacks any real power due to the constant bizarre silliness that remains rife throughout it’s 90 minute duration.

I recommend it to those looking for a decent surrealist film. It is sure to be off putting and possibly even annoying to those wanting a conventional narrative and possibly to those that want something more Lynchian. But overall, well… I liked it.

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