Fando and Lis
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  • Fando and Lis
  • 93 minutes  -  Fantasy
  • Original title: Fando y Lis
  • Director:Alejandro Jorodowsky
  • Language: Spanish
  • Country: Spain

A paraplegic girl named Lis is dragged across a mountain by a man named Fando, as they travel towards the magic city of Tar.

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REVIEW BY Pablo Draletti Movie EXPERT
Review posted: 03/09/2013

Anyone who has watched a film by the famed Chilean-born director Alejandro Jorodowsky knows better than to expect a normal experience when watching his cinematic debut. Based on a play by the Spanish writer Fernando Arrabal, the story invites us to join an odd couple named Fando and Lis. Lis is a paraplegic girl who is dragged across a mountain by Fando, who alternatively gives her love and abuse as they dream of visiting the magic city of Tar and encounter strange characters and situations.

This is a very low-budget film made on the weekends with a bunch of friends and a camera, and it shows. Jodorowsky makes the most of his locations (the mountains, a cemetery), but it’s clear the scope of his insanity needed a larger budget to work with. It has its moments, though, especially a musical segment that’s oddly haunting, where Fando sings about wanting to go to Lis’s funeral “con una flor y un perro” (with a flower and a dog). The amount of verbal and physical abuse Lis goes through at the hands of Fando might be too much for some viewers, particularly in a film that offers no emotional pay-off for the situation.

"This is a very low-budget film made on the weekends with a bunch of friends and a camera, and it shows."

At the time (the 1960s), Jodorowsky, Arrabal, and Roland Topor (a very interesting actor) had co-founded the Panic Movement, inspired by the surreal cinema of Luis Buñuel and the writings of Antonin Artaud. Everything they did was meant to be polarizing, shocking, and alienating, and this movie is no exception. It seems to have worked, because at the time of its release in Mexico, an angry mob threatened to destroy the theater it was shown in. It later opened in New York to very few audience members and scathing reviews.

The Spanish spoken in this film is neutered and has no clear reminiscence of any country, certainly not Mexico. This is probably due to the international cast and crew: Jodorowsky is Chilean, the protagonist is Argentine, and the movie is shot in Mexico. Also, the film is not intended to take place anywhere resembling the real world. This probably makes it perfect for those students of the language who are into surreal imagery. As a closing thought, Jodorowsky’s themes of sick relationships form a large part of the comic-book science-fiction epic which I think is his best and most important work: The Saga of the Metabarons, with stunning artwork by the Argentine Juan Giménez.