Fando y Lis (Alejandro Jodorowsky / Mexico, 1968):

Alejandro Jodorowsky gives himself the showman's turn, severing the strings of a puppet and ushering in the audience with a chuckle: "Vas a conocer mi mundo." Dante via Arrabal, a thorough derangement of La Strada, one mutant freakout after another and then some. Lis the whiny pixie (Diana Mariscal), as a child a traumatized Alice and then a paralyzed muse on the squeaky wagon cart; testy clod Fando (Sergio Kleiner) wheels her through the jagged desert, not the healthiest of relationships. The tattered remains of bourgeoisie shimmy languidly amid ruins to the accompaniment of a burning piano (one of several Dalí mementos), later on a trio of matrons take a break from their game of bridge to soul-kiss a pudgy musclehead. Capering in junkyards and cemeteries ("Que bonito es un entierro"), the papal pervert in the pit, the grueling search for the mythical sanctuary. "If it doesn't exist, we can invent it." A metaphysical vaudeville divided into cantos, with blackout routines of death and rebirth, rape and gender-shuffling, vampirism and transcendence. Crones with peaches, lecherous and emasculating, amazons with whips and bowling balls, L'Age d'Or and for days. Dad the betrayer and the betrayed (his belly is sliced for the feathered soul within), Mom feeds sonny to satiation and gets strangled with her own sideshow tresses. "And When I Wanted to Separate Myself From Her, She Told Me We Formed One Body with Two Heads." Dolls and skulls and snakes in rapid succession, orgy time with the mud people, García Márquez's swines. To anybody who mourns Jodorowsky's unmade Dune, here it is, "the key that opens all the labyrinths." Antonioni (Zabriskie Point) and Waters (Multiple Maniacs) are left to sort it out. In black and white.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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