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Defining Mondo in Hollywoodland

With an eye to the past and a cell phone on the present, writer director

Ambros spins along some convoluted paths that make up Hollywood and its environs.

Paying tribute to a 1967 film called Mondo Hollywood, the new Mondo Hollywoodland follows its predecessor by taking an erratic route through a world full of people compelled to pursue different paths.

The official plot description comes as, "A groovy mushrooms dealer and a man from the 5th dimension journey through Hollywood to find the meaning of ‘Mondo'". Their world involves a missing cat, psychedelic mushrooms, guns, and a heist movie within the movie.

If that combo sounds jumbled - well, it is, and purposefully so. Ambros sets out to recreate the unsettled sense his characters experience. This results in a project much like their lives - at times fun, but often jumbled and confusing.

It proves ideal for viewers who might imbibe with the main characters by taking in copious psychedelic substances. Flashes of color blended with images edited at breakneck speed suit this nonsensical world, one that intentionally avoids the usual constructs of smooth, logical storytelling.

Using his cell phone as camera, Ambros captures surprisingly pretty shots at times, combining all this with a script of sorts, though one that gets frequently sidetracked and never defines that word “mondo.” But neither finding answers nor reaching any particular destination fit into the world shown in Mondo Hollywoodland, a place where you take the ride or jump off—it really doesn’t matter.

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