What is it?
A film, directed by Pedro Almodóvar, released in 1986.
What is it about?
It’s a crazy murder mystery/comedy/melodrama about a young man (played by Antonio Banderas) with a nasty, hypocritical, “religious” mother, who tries to rape a girl and then confesses to a series of murders; his bullfighting mentor, who jacks off to scenes of extreme violence; and a beautiful lawyer woman who may or may not like stabbing men with her hairpin.
Wow! Sounds lively.
It is. It’s wonderful. Very stylish film, gorgeous to look at, with some interesting reflections on the relationship between sex and death, and sex and religion, and sex and bullfighting, and bullfighting and death. And sex.
Queer sex? Homosexual sex? Or just sex?
Well, it’s really about heterosexuality, but I think the sensibility of the film is queer. It points up the weirdness/violence that underlies a lot of sex, while being understanding and forgiving—which I think is a queer perspective.
That’s an early Almodóvar film. How does it stack up to the later ones?
I don’t know, I haven’t seen any of them.
Hah hah! Always the comic.
No, really, I haven’t seen any of them.
But he’s, like, the most famous contemporary gay filmmaker! How could you not have seen any of his films?
I don’t know, I just haven’t! I guess I was doing something else. I want to see them all now, though.
What rating would you give it (using the Michelin-guide 3-star system)?:
1 star (the story isn’t emotionally involving at all, but the movie manages to strike a note of absurd comedy and high melodrama while remaining somewhat believable, which is an unusual and difficult feat, it’s thought-provoking—and, yes, it’s full of beautiful Spanish men … and ladies)