The world was a much happier place in 1999 & I can understand why. Fando & Lis was released on DVD by Fantoma & we quivered with shameless delight. Hence, there are slaves of Jodorowsky still alive today & this any true fans' fantasy come true. Hell, the interviews with Jodorowsky himself & Peter Gabriel are literally worth the price you pay alone. Fantoma did this one up real nicely just like they did with Jose Mojica Marins Coffin Joe trilogy.
Having never seen a Jodorowsky film before 1999 including the most famous El Topo, Fando & Lis was a complete shock to the system & an absolute eye opener. I've seen this film several times through the years & I'm still disturbed by it more than ever. Of all the films I've ever watched, this one had an impact like no other. Probability suggests I might truly hate this film if we're to know it's full meaning. In all honesty, I hope that I never fully understand it.
Supposedly, this film is based upon an avantguard play written by Fernando Arrabal which Jodorowsky loved. Jodorowsky mentions in an interview the play never made any money when he performed it & he was deeply saddened by the fact they had to stop performing it when they ran out of money.
In the beginning of the film, we are introduced to our characters & get a glimpse of their traumatic childhoods as well as Fando's devotion to a crippled but beautiful young woman by the name of Lis. The opening montage shows Lis eating a flower & is a perfect metaphor for what we shall see in the next 90 odd minutes. But what does this all mean to a movie aficionado? Perhaps we are swallowing the beauty of the world around us amidst the chaos. Perhaps we don't understand the true power or meaning of beauty so we clearly dispose of it without a moment's hesitation. This may not have been Jodorowsky's intention of course but each person who views Fando & Lis will interpret this work in a unique way.
Fando & Lis wasn't made on a huge budget from what I can gather but the images will stay in your head for a very long time indeed. I'm reminded of the surrealism we've seen in films by Rollin, Lynch, or perhaps Bunuel. Yes, beautiful & erotic but haunting & somewhat grotesque. Needless to say, there is a degree of ironic humor as well. Fando & Lis is a complicated, strange journey that reveals the darkest sides of human nature which are generally laced with a child-like innocence.
I will re-visit this film again sometime & can only hope that Fantoma or some DVD company will one day release the other films of Jodorowsky such as Santa Sangre & do them up well just like this one. Considered lost for nearly thirty years, I have to say Fando & Lis looks damn great & I'm proud to be an owner of this masterpiece.
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