Sunday, September 04, 2016

Fando y Lis

Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky and screenplay by Jodorowsky and Fernando Arrabal that is based on the play by the latter, Fando y Lis is the story of two lovers who travel to a barren wasteland in search of a mythical city. The film is a surreal love story set in a post-apocalyptic world that play into the many aspects of mysticism and chaos of the world itself. Starring Sergio Klanier and Diana Mariscal. Fando y Lis is a strange yet odd film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

The film is a simple story of two lovers who go on a journey to find a mythical city somewhere in a barren wasteland during a post-apocalyptic period. The film doesn’t rely very much on plot as it’s more about the experience of these two lovers as Fando (Sergio Klanier) is bringing his partially-paralyzed lover Lis (Diana Mariscal) through the land either carrying her or dragging her on a cart. During their journey, they deal with flashbacks of traumatic moments as well as surreal things they would encounter as Fando would get frustrated by dealing with Lis while the two also cope with what they see and the landscape itself. While the script’s lack of plot favors more about the journey and the surrealistic themes of identity and faith, it does meander where it isn’t sure what it wants to be or attempting to be all of these things but without a sense of balance.

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s direction is very offbeat as it play into the sense of the absurd but also a world that is chaotic. Much of the compositions in terms of wide and medium shots are simple to play into the locations as it’s shot on location in Mexico in its deserts and rural areas. Jodorowsky would use the landscape to play into something that is desolate and unknowing in what the film’s protagonists would encounter as there are many odd things that happen. A group of old women playing cards and feeding a young man peaches, Fando’s parents both desiring to be buried, drag queens, a man asking for blood, and mud people. At times, it is intriguing but eventually does wear out its welcome as it does cause the pacing to get sluggish. Even during the second act where it does take place in the desert mountains as it gets too strange despite what Jodorowsky wants to say as it does have a nice payoff in its third act. Overall, Jodorowsky creates a weird yet uneven film about a couple’s journey to a mystical world.

Cinematographers Rafael Corkidi and Antonio Reynoso do excellent work with the film‘s black-and-white cinematography as it plays into that air of style in its approach to surrealism mixed in with the harsh realism of its locations. Editor Fernando Suarez does nice work with the editing with its usage of jump-cuts and some montage-based style to play into the film‘s offbeat tone. The film’s music by Pepe Alvida and Hector Morely is brilliant for its mixture of traditional, string-based music with some quirky pieces with its usage of woodwinds to play into the journey of the characters.

The film’s cast features appearances from Alejandro Jodorowsky as a puppeteer, co-cinematographer Rafael Corkidi as Fando’s father, Vincente and Elizabeth Moore in their respective roles as the young Fando and Lis, Valerie Jodorowsky in a dual role as a junkyard temptress and a woman in crutches, Tamara Garina as a weird version of the pope, and Maria Teresa Rivas as Fando’s mother. Finally, there’s the fantastic performances of Sergio Klanier and Diana Mariscal in their respective roles as the titular characters with Klanier as the man who is trying to find the land and deal with the fact that he’s doing all of the work while Mariscal displays the anguish and melancholia of her character who can’t walk as she laments over her condition.

Fando y Lis is a terrific yet very flawed film from Alejandro Jodorowsky. While it has some unique visuals, weird takes on surrealism, and some commentary of faith and identity. It is a film that is definitely not for everyone as it’s very slow and meandering pace will definitely be a turn off. In the end, Fando y Lis is a very good film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Alejandro Jodorowsky Films: La Cravate - Teatro sin fin - El Topo - The Holy Mountain - Tusk (1980 film) - Santa Sangre - The Rainbow Thief - The Dance of Reality - Endless Poetry - Psychomagic: a Healing Art

Related: Jodorowsky's Dune - The Auteurs #59: Alejandro Jodorowsky

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