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61. Fando & Lis; movie review

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Title : 61. Fando & Lis; movie review
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Cert 15
97 mins
BBFC advice: Contains sexual threat, nudity

Today's impossible quiz question - how many movies incited a riot at their premieres?
Well, Alejandro Jodorowsky's Fando & Lis did when it played at the Acapulco Film Festival in 1968.
The Chilean director's debut feature was eventually banned in Mexico for being blasphemous, sexually deviant and very violent, albeit mild by comparison to his later work.
Apparently, Jodorowsky was following the doctrine of the Mouvement Panique which aimed to create work which provoked the senses of the audience rather than staging written texts in front of passive viewers.
Thankfully, it didn't catch on.
Well, except with Jodorowsky who used this as a springboard for the likes of The Holy Mountain and El Topo.
As crazy as this movie is, it is at least not quite as bloodthirsty or even as wacky as them.
Fando & Lis was shot at weekends on a low budget and follows the pilgrimage of its title characters to the mythical paradise of Tar after an apocalypse.
Fando (Sergio Klainer) pulls Lis (Diana Mariscal), his beautiful paraplegic wife, through ruins in a makeshift wagon with their prized possessions, a baby doll, drum and gramophone.
Of course, this is a Jodorowsky film so as offbeat as that sounds, it is only a prelude for all sorts of madness.
His movies push the boundaries and deliberately include scenes which would not even occur to other film-makers.
For example, even his sex scenes are unconventional - one involves perverted elderly women, another sees Fando invite men to grapple with a naked Lis.
Its narrative is slightly easier to follow than the movies I have seen during the current Jodorowsky season but there are moments which made me more uncomfortable.
This is particularly true of scenes in which a very young Lis being is molested by strangers in a theatre.
Is it ground-breaking or is it exploitation? Well, we know what the festival-goers of Acapulco thought and it was banned in Mexico thereafter.
Looking back to 1960s sensitivities even as freedom of expression was being encouraged, I can see why.

Reasons to watch: How many films prompt a riot?
Reasons to avoid: The plot is impossible to follow

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: Yes
Nudity: Yes
Overall rating: 4/10

Did you know? Roman Polanski who was at the infamous Acapulco festival screening with his wife Sharon Tate to promote his film Rosemary's Baby, defended Fando & Lis, stating that any auteur should be able to express himself with complete liberty and that censorship in art and culture was not acceptable.

The final word. Alejandro Jodorowsky: "I make pictures for myself, I am not influenced by anybody. But in order to understand, some people need to put what they don’t know into something that they know. They know ‘psychedelic’ so that’s the definition they give. But when the year is over they will say other things because the mentality will change and they will see it in another way. " Electric Sheep

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