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Fando y Lis

Fando and Lis
Fando and Lis: Tar Babies

Mexico 1968
produced by
Juan López Moctezuma, Robreto Viskin, Moshe Rosemberg (executive), Samuel Rosemberg (executive) for Producciones Panicas
directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
starring Sergio Kleiner, Diana Mariscal, María Teresa Rivas, Tamara Garina, Juan José Arreola, Rene Rebetez, Amparo Villegas, Miguel Álvarez Acosta, Raul Romero, Julio Castillo, Adrián Ramos, Henry West, Luis Urias, Valerie Jodorowsky, Graciela Mariscal, Tina French, Fuensanta, Julia Marichal, Freddy Marichal, Alejandro Romero, Hector Mariscal, Rosita Oliver, Elizabeth Moore, Vicente Moore, Greta Cohen, Basha, Miguel Kafka, Pablo Leder, Alina Sánchez, Roberto Cirou, Andonio Cepeda, Gabriel Weiss, René Alís, Sergio Rendón, Carlos Acosta, Carlos Ancira, Alfonso Toledano, Roberto Colmenares, Jacqueline Ducolomb, Carlos Savage, Rafael Corkidi, Samuel Rosemberg
screenplay by Alejandro Jodorowsky, based on the play by Fernando Arrabal, music by Pepe Ávila, Mario Lozua, Hector Morely

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Before I start retellling this film: Fando y Lis is basically a surrealist film that defies classic storytelling, and therefore a synopsis can never do justice to the film. For some reason, I try anyhow ...


The world lies in ruins, But young Fando (Sergio Kleiner) and his paralyzed girlfriend Lis (Diana Mariscal) believe there is a place, the city of Tar, where everything is still alright, where they can find happiness, the answer to everything, and a cure for Lis' paralysis. So Fando drags Lis on a cart or carries her on his back through a nightmarish landscape that's made up of ruins, barren plains, and fields full of carwrecks or animal skulls, populated by madmen and -women or at least eccentric characters.

Eventually, Fando and Lis run across the mud people, and Fando leaves Lis standing in the mud with them for a while (she can't run, but she can stand), until she gets too freaked out.

Later Fando and Lis break up and Fando goes on alone, but runs into a group of characters who torment him with whips and bowling balls and finally push him into the grave of his own father (Rafael Corkidi), who despite being dead, raises from his grave to party with Fando's tormentors.

Ultimately, Fando joins up with Lis again, and the two are soon overrun by a group of transvestites, who before long have put Fando into women's cloths and Lis into men's cloths.

A father and his blind son cross ways with Fando and Lis, and the father asks the two of them for some blood for his son, so Fando invites him to have some of Lis' ... which to their amazement is mostly drunken by the father himself ...

Fando meets his mother (María Teresa Rivas) who has made it a habit to die in public - for the last 20 years. But it's only now that Fando decently buries her that she dies for real ...

Later, Fando chains Lis to her cart in the nude to attract rapists, but he is rather disappointed by the reaction he got out of the men who were lured to Lis.

Ultimately, Fando and Lis have to realize that the city Tar is not a place as such but a state of mind. Overcome by grief and disappointment, Fando beats and stones Lis to death, then carries her corpse just like Jesus carried the crucifix ... and when he buries her, she rises from the dead, just like Jesus did ...


As I said, my synopsis does not do the film justice, Fando y Lis is a surrealist masterpiece that clearly mirrors the time it was made - the late 1960's -, and back then it caused quite a stir, at least in Mexico, where it was ultimately banned. Of couse, by today's standards, the film has lost much of its scandalous edge - which doesn't hurt the movie one bit because now it can be seen as what it is, a great piece of surrealist filmmaking, and artform that is almost forgotten today.

It might not be an easy film, and it might not be to everyone's taste (it's definitely off-mainstream), but if you know what you're in for, it's a great piece of cinema.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD