The Devils

The Devils is a British Sureal-Horror film about a vain priest during the 16th century who rediscovers his faith after being falsely accused of witchcraft. It is one of the most provocative and notorious British films in history. To this day it remains heavily censored without any intention of an uncut release. Even incomplete, The Devils stands as one of the best British films ever made and a career highlight for maverick director, Ken Russell.
What is immediately noticeable about this film is just how aggressively stylized it is. The massive geometric sets and outlandish costumes make the film more like a twisted science fiction than a period piece. History buffs looking for an accurate representation of the times are best to look elsewhere. During his prime, Ken Russell had one of the absolute best eyes for unforgettable imagery. Personally I would deeply prefer whatever psychedelic nightmare landscape he would conjure to any factual based interpretation.
The cast and performances are unanimously strong with no weak links to be found. British hellraiser Oliver Reed gives the performance of his career as Urban Grandier, a worldly priest who is more interested in sleeping around than sermonizing. When not bedding all of the women that he meets, he also has a strong righteous streak when it comes to defending his city against the corrupt influence of the Monarchy and the Catholic Church.  As the conspiracy against his reputation and life expands, he becomes humbled and takes his faith and position more seriously. His growth from womanizer into an unbreakable and honorable holy man is handled superbly. At first you think of him as an egotistical jerk, but his change of heart feels earned. By the end, you are firmly on his side. He is a commanding presence and a surprisingly sympathetic anti-hero. Reed ascends The Devils into classic status.
Filmfett is unaware about its stance on nudity so we're just gonna omit a picture of the scene where like 50 nuns preform an orgy on a jesus statue....sorry Brad!

Vanessa (Liam Neeson’s Mother in Law) Redgrave makes for the other powerful leading role, as Sister Jean, a depraved hunchback nun who is erotically fixated on Grandier. So deep does her obsession run, that she will even accuse him of being in league with Satan for ignoring her. At moments, she does seem to have a conscious and is out of her depth in this massive conspiracy, being only a nun who has no idea how to properly deal with her sexual obsessions, but she gets manipulated into doing some pretty horrible things. She is a tragic, pathetic, and deeply freakish character who is whipped into a religious fervor to serve the corruption of the monarchy.
The most memorable of the supporting cast has to be Gemma Jones, as Madeline, Grandier’s love interest. Aside from falling in love and marrying a priest, she is the sole innocent of the film. Her angle doesn’t feel forced and is actually one of the most important aspects to the film. She helps Grandier restore his faith and become a more honorable man. At the center of this anarchic and disturbing film, she makes for the heart of the film.
Its hard to think that this handsome devil can sing like an angel in Tommy

The monarchy is represented by Dudley Sutton, as the affluent Baron who wishes to take control of Grandier’s city. He’s the sinister force that conspires a plot to have our hero executed by accusing him of practicing witchcraft and stirring up the populace to demand his death. This is done with the help of a crooked witch hunter, where they capture a convent of nuns, convince them that they are possessed by devils, and command them to blaspheme as much as possible so that their souls could be saved with Grandier’s death. It’s an insane plan that culminates in a legendarily graphic nun orgy sequence. Depending on the version you’re watching, they even tear down a gigantic monument of Christ and use it as a sexual aid in an epic moment of film blasphemy. For a film about rediscovering faith, fighting against corruption, and dying for causes greater than oneself, not unlike A Clockwork Orange, the greater themes to The Devils have a real tendency to get lost among lunatic behavior, nakedness, and gaudy stylistic choices. It’s the type of film where the more you see it, the more you are going to get out of it. Because on that first viewing, you’re just going to get bowled over by it’s over the top style and characters to figure out what exactly is going on.
See, Johnny wasnt fucking Lisas bellybottom, Humans have a special fuck-hole that you can also kiss, it's gross but who am I to judge??

Orchestral music going through schizoid mood swings makes for the score of the film. It can become gentle and romantic when the moment needs be, but can also become heavily chaotic. During the most violent and frightening scenes of the film, it sounds like the strings from the instrument are being torn out. This wild sound could easily give people a headache and just sounds like random nuttiness. I myself love the score, because it is apropos that a chaotic film have a chaotic soundtrack. That and when the film does slow down, it proves itself achingly beautiful and heartbreaking.

For those up for an excessively violent and sexual tour de force, The Devils is a brilliant and complex moral fable by a British legend at the height of his confidence and ability. The Devils will be blessed with 4.5/5 golden cameras

Fando Y Lis

The film that caused a riot at the Acapulco Film Festival in 1968. Fando Y Lis is a post-apocalyptic surreal drama-adventure which radically changed it’s own genre from that moment onward. Fando made surrealism bolder, more aggressive, and filled with a twisted sense of humor both nightmarish and highly playful. We are watching one of film’s great mad geniuses discover his own footing. Although far from a great film, Fando Y Lis is a highly influential and original one that is unforgettable to anyone who sees it.
The story is quite simple. It is about a young man, Fando and his paraplegic girlfriend, Lis, as they journey across a barren landscape in search of the magical city of Tar, a Latin Shangri-La type of destination. It has been told that those who reach Tar will receive limitless enlightenment and happiness, as well as make Lis able to walk again. Can Fando and Lis reach Tar? Does Tar even exist?
From the same guy that made the holy mountain...the best selling pitch ever to any weird movie ever

Fando and Lis aren’t that interesting as individual characters. Fando is a lighthearted prankster who is always playing around. Lis is constantly depressed and always on the verge of tears. Aside from these basic personality traits, their romance, and their horrible upbringings (Fando had overbearing parents, Lis was molested as a child), we don’t know very much about them. What makes them fascinating is the progression of their relationship and the way they treat each other.
At the start of their journey, Fando and Lis are openly affectionate with each other. An entire segment is dedicated to them making cutesy poses in a cemetery. Lis will occasionally complain about being tired or not being able to find Tar, but Fando either brushes those aside or tries to cheer her up. She is needy, but Fando puts up with her because their love is still fresh.
You see the ink or black paint represents the influence of Chile in mexican cinema or something...input Brad

Their relationship grows more complicated as they encounter a series of bizarre characters. They include but are not limited to waltzing Jazz bar patrons (dancing to a pianist playing on a burning piano of course), mud people, an insane ex-bishop with a breastfeeding fetish, mudpeople, and a wealthy vampire. The scenes involving these characters are filled with cryptic dialogue, creepy gags, and complete unpredictability. For a first time viewer it is nearly impossible to guess what could happen from one scene to the next. With every encounter, they end up being attacked or humiliated, either out of bad luck or naivety in willing to trust these crazy people.
The further the journey goes on and looks more hopeless, the greater the hostility between the couple is. Arguments are quick to start and physical abuse becomes commonplace. Curiously enough, the performances become stronger the further the film goes along. Almost as if Jodorowsky is learning as he’s going along. This escalates into the ending where it reaches a startling conclusion. From this point it is clear what the film is meant to signify. Beneath the nightmare imagery, insane people, and mysticism is a metaphor for falling out of love and the loss of innocence and dreams. We step into the world thinking we’re going to be invincible, and the world laughs back and proves us wrong.
Being a Jodorowsky film, even in this premature stage in his career, he was a master at creating powerful imagery. Fando Y Lis uses overexposed black and white photography that keeps the film otherworldly and haunting. Often times the desert resembles a blank canvas that stretches out indefinitely, a world that is truly without limit. You also get a host of bizarre scenes including worms being placed inside a doll, a puppet show held in what looks like an abandoned warehouse, a funeral conducted in a concrete parking lot. Although this film is way more scattershot when put together against his (comparatively) more focused work, the results are still stunning.
See me after class Brad - Filmfett Markus

The music consists of tragic vaguely Latin sounding carnival music and Jazz piano. For all of his films, Jodorowsky always had excellent selection of music to choose from and his debut is of now exception. The best tracks would have to be the “Funeral” track and the “Killing” track. At times it sounds like a prototype for the score of Jodorowsky’s later Santa Sangre.
Sound design for the film consists of all sorts of ominous honks, creaks, scratching, and other eerie electrical sounds. Most of the time it creates a truly ominous atmosphere. Other times it gets seriously annoying. One scene that is especially annoying is the scene with the old ladies playing cards and making out with a fat guy. There is a constant sound of swarming bees that seemingly goes on endlessly. I could stick my head in a beehive and expect to hear less bees than I would hear in this film. What possessed Jodorowsky to give the okay to such a grating effect? The bees continue for so long, that they even wreck an otherwise great scene of Fando being pursued by a dominatrix led gang of angry bowlers. There is also a highly annoying leather squeaking sound and what sounds like the first 5 seconds of The Beastie Boys track “Girls” on a loop, during the scene when Fando and Lis encounter a group of dancing drag queens. The sound design may be unique, but there are moments that totally miss the mark.
Bleak, disturbing, and all over the place. Fando Y Lis is an ambitious but ultimately uneven film that is fascinating only for the potential that will soon emerge from the career of Alejandro Jodorowsky. He was far from a master, but it was only a matter of time before he would become one. 3/5 Guldkameror!

Phantom of Liberty

Phantom of Liberty is a surreal comedy about wealthy French people who find themselves in dreamlike and logic defying scenarios. It’s got a cast of Euro-film greats, and you get to see one of the surreal film masters, Luis Bunuel, further experiment and expand the genre that he helped popularize.

What little plot there is consists of a fragmented series of vignettes. None of them get resolved in any meaningful way, some of them get forgotten about, and just about all of them will leave you dumbfounded as to what you just watched. The only recurring aspect is that a side character from one of the vignettes ends up becoming the main character of the next one. It’s an inspired and original format.
“Let me guess, Taco Bell for dinner?”

One thing to keep in mind is that even if the film is considered surreal COMEDY, Phantom is a lot more low key and subtle then you would expect a film that has an ass with arms on it’s poster. Now don’t get me wrong, you still get fat guys doing bondage, statues slapping people, toilets in front of a dinner table, emus wandering into peoples houses, and random sniper murders, but don’t go into this film anticipating the French version of Airplane or you will be disappointed. Humor in this film is entirely dry and has a deliberate pace to it. The tone aims for the cerebral over the slapstick and there are more lengthy stretches where small talk happens compared to actual gags. The gags you get are scarce, spaced out, and often come and go without much notice. This film has some of the strangest and mos sophisticated senses of humor that you will find in any film, but in no way could this be considered a crowd-pleasing film. That and a French Airplane already exists.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even if this film is SURREAL comedy, don’t go in expecting any wild visuals or giant dreamlike set pieces. Luis Bunuel doesn’t make trip movies. His style has always been formal, cold, and even deliberately ugly. The strangeness in this film comes from the lack of logic in human behavior, confusion, and absurd elements.

It portrays mundane drama, and then throws in a case of mistaken identity, red herrings, or out of place elements that are meant to throw you off. Anyone expecting anything crazier than that needs to see another film.
“I shouldn’t have mixed Prozac with Ibuprofen”.

The performances all kind of merge together, because everyone has the same sort of intentionally stiff and formal delivery. The best performance goes to Jean Rochefort as Mr. Legendre, a man just recently diagnosed with cancer, but taking the news almost too well. He understands to perfection the sort of dry as a bone delivery and dialed down comedic timing required to make this film work. His character isn’t any more or less important than the rest of the cast, but for me he was the one who made his segments stand out.
“Fat guys in assless pants. This is definitely a European movie!”

None of the characters really have that much personality. Like the performances, they all kind of meld together to make for a singular statement on bored elitists. There are like pawns locked in a game they can’t win or lose. Like most of his other films, Bunuel seems to show massive amounts of contempt aimed at his characters, and this one is no exception. When they aren’t left in confusion, dying strange deaths, plotting against each other, they are often left seriously miserable. There is no warmth to be found in any of these characters, but considering this film is meant to be a ruthless joke made by one of cinema’s great misanthropes, it fits. Luis Bunuel hates everyone and everybody.
Phantom of Liberty is a challenging, frequently nonsensical, and occasionally depressing mindscrew of a film. It is not an entertaining film, but it is a unique experience that film collectors should consider owning to see a true master at work.  Phantom of Liberty receives 4/5 Guldkameror