Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Victoria Abril in Pedro Almodóvar's "Átame!" [1990 Spain]

It's about time this little gem went into the blog - Pedro Almodóvar made this much misunderstood black comedy "Átame!" [Eng. Title: Tie me Up! Tie me Down!] as a scathing attack on the concept of marriage and conventional love. While outwardly it may appear as a 'romantic' albeit twisted comedy, the irony will not be lost for those looking at it from the protagonists' perspective.

Delinquent Ricky is released from asylum after the authorities decide it is now okay for him to re-enter society. And Ricky heads straight to the film studios where Marina Osorio is shooting a 'mainstream' film with a veteran director. He had been obsessing over her for the past year, since a one-night stand with her at a club - he had escaped from the asylum at the time for a night's fun. He wants Marina to love him as much as he, get married, and start a family - to live a "normal" life as he puts it.

When Marina spurns his overtures - she wouldn't even give him a second look - he breaks into her apartment and kidnaps her. His thinking - if she gets to spend time with him, she will get to know him better, and certainly fall in love. Bad boy Ricky - but we soon realise he is not the only one with issues. Former porn actress Marina is also desperately trying to kick her drug habit - she'd just got a lucky break to work on a non-porn film because the wheelchair-bound director (wonder if Almodóvar was thinking of Antonioni when he wrote the screenplay!) is also her fan - damaged people both, the victim and the perpetrator. He gags and ties Marina up every time he needs to leave the apartment - mostly to buy drugs for her 'toothache'. Ricky doesn't take sexual advantage of her situation, but Marina nevertheless despises him and tries to escape on a few occasions, unsuccessfully. But one day when he returns bleeding after being robbed and beaten, she pities his misfortune, for it was on her account that he went out looking for drugs. And she falls in love..!

One can easily look at Marina's change of heart as a symptom of her discovering that someone does indeed care about her in a true sense, or even as a case of Stockholm Syndrome. But Almodóvar goes beyond that and asks us to question the rationale of being 'tied-down', to conform, to loose oneself in another person's life. The message is actually made clear by the film's provocative ending, which I will not reveal just in case you're thinking of watching the film.

The film was slated by many critics when it came out, but I'm sure many were made to eat their words upon second viewing. The screenplay, direction, cinematography, editing, and the performances by the main actors are superb, as is the awesome sound track by the legendary Ennio Morricone. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Much as I'd like to include a DVD link for Átame!, I cannot recommend the ones on sale at the moment - they are either letter-boxed PAL versions with hard-coded English subtitles (avoid them as I purchased without knowing), or the ridiculously expensive NTSC versions. I was lucky to get one from Mexico (from which this compilation was made) but it's not available now.

Off-topic note:
Let me digress a bit here with the fact that after this film, Pedro Almodóvar and Antonio Banderas finally got back working together in Almodóvar's latest and much anticipated film, "La Piel que Habito" [Eng. Title: The Skin I Live in]. I watched it at the cinema last week (it was a toss-up between this and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" - and I don't regret my decision one bit) - I can assure you that here we see Almodóvar at his original twisted best that made his films so unique. If this film is running anywhere close to you - DO NOT miss it! It also has plenty of nudity, which I will of course review when it comes out on DVD.

Compilation: Victoria Abril and Loles León
Only made using the 'best' bits... :-)

Victoria Abril from Pedro Almodovar's "Tie me Up! Tie me Down!"

Scene Guide:
  • Short snippets from three connected scenes where Marina turns up at the film set without panties. She removed them apparently because they are showing through her dress - her sister nearby remarks that she'd much rather her panties show through than her 'chocho'..! Some brief but priceless, sexy and funny pantyless upskirts ensue during and after the film-shoot when the director also gets to have a look-in. She admonishes him for staring at her 'like that'. Marina of course, is played by the legendary sultry siren - Victoria Abril.
  • This is one of the all-time classics - it would be humiliating to hear a blog visitor admit not seeing this in some form before. This is of Marina playing with her toy frogman in the bath - obviously the guy who designed it noticed a niche in the competitive bath accessory market..!
  • No nudity - Ricky takes Marina captive in her own flat, and Marina isn't pleased. Looking at his lust-filled eyes, she asks him to fuck her and get over with it, but he tells her, "take it easy - all in good time". Ricky of course is played by another famous Spanish export - a youthful Antonio Banderas - one can easily see why women have had frequent wet dreams over him (apparently!).
  • Poor Marina is still without knickers after the film-shoot and is now asked to change so they can go to the pharmacy. Ricki likes what he sees - and so do we.
  • This is possibly a directorial goof - Marina's suddenly sprung panties when they return home. She asks him to look away while changing.
  • The film director watching one of Marina's porn tapes. His insufferably sympathetic wife drops in to ask if he needs anything - he tells her he's fine.
  • No nudity but some sexy upskirts in these scenes, first when Marina tries to snatch from a sleeping Ricky the keys to her handcuffs, and later when she's carried to the neighbour's flat (who'd gone away on holiday) so that no one would bother them. There's also a toilet visit in between - when a disgusted Marina promises Ricky that she could never fall in love with him.
  • Marina is gradually getting accustomed to Ricky, and this time when she changes, she actually asks him to help her with the dress.
  • Ricky returns all bruised - he'd just been beaten up and robbed by some junkies. Marina pities him, and they make love. It is an erotic scene where Ms. Abril and Mr. Banderas really seem to be going for it, even if there's nothing explicit shown. Apparently the scene took several takes lasting a whole day - imagine that..!
  • A very brief flash - but a flash nevertheless, of Marina's sister Lola using the bathroom. Lola is played by sexy and funny Loles León, who also steals the show in some of the film's scenes.


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Belén Rodríguez in “Se sei così ti dico sì” [2011, Italy]

Eugenio Cappuccio's commedia all'italiana “Se sei così ti dico sì” [Eng. Trans: I'll say yes if it pleases you] is a feel-good comedy about grabbing life's opportunities as they come. While it is nothing but light entertainment, it is nevertheless decently written and directed with adequate technical merit, and the performances aren't too bad either.

Piero Cicala is a has-been pop star who'd had a single hit during the early 80's. He's now a chef in what once was his, but now ex-wife's seafood restaurant in his home town. A TV executive comes looking for Piero to make him appear on a nostalgic TV show called "The Best Years". After some deliberation he accepts, provided the producer pays him an additional fee. Just as he opens the door to his assigned hotel suite in Rome, supermodel Talita Cortes who had also booked at the hotel enters his room to escape from paparazzi. She instantly makes herself at home leaving Piero to occupy the bathroom. But after she watches him on TV, she develops a liking for him, and asks him to accompany her to the US for the weekend for her girlfriend's birthday, promising to introduce him to some important people at the party. As he gets to know more about the business savvy Talita, he begins to re-evaluate his life's choices as well. The film has an open ending allowing for possibilities, however far-fetched.

Compilation: Belén Rodríguez
There's only brief nudity in the film, but Belén Rodríguez who plays Talita is sexy as hell in it, so I've included some of the best bits as well.

Belen Rodriguez in Se sei così ti dico sì

Scene Guide:
  • Talita exercising while on the phone, giving some nice upskirt which doesn't escape Piero's attention.
  • Piero is again given a nice view as Talita changes. She asks him if he likes what he sees - he awkwardly mumbles his approval.
  • Talita watching a gossip show suggesting that Talita and Piero are possibly now an item, living together in the same suite. We get a tantalising glimpse of Ms. Rodríguez's Argentinian assets as she prepares to head into the shower.



Monday, 29 August 2011

Monique van de Ven & Hannah de Leeuwe in "Keetje Tippel" [1975, Netherlands]

Paul Verhoeven made "Keetje Tippel" [Eng. Title: A Girl called Katy Tippel] following his sensational "Turks Fruit", and those who were expecting something on similar lines would have surely been disappointed.

The film explores extreme poverty in late 19th century Holland among the proletariat, and their exploitation by the well-to-do. Based on an autobiographical novel (by Neel Doff), it follows Katjee's fortunes from the filthy tenement she shared with her parents and siblings, to her rise to high society upon marrying a wealthy man in Amsterdam. To call this film gritty would be an understatement - Mr. Verhoeven shoves raw realism in our face without constraints, but the manner in which it is directed establishes his dexterity in depicting difficult subjects elegantly whilst still remaining passionate. The cinematography in excellent and the performance by all the main actors impressive, particularly the actress portraying Keetje - Monique van de Ven - this is by far the best performance I've seen from her.

Keetje and family relocate to Amsterdam looking to better themselves, and move into a dirty, leaking single-room apartment - that's all they could afford. With the father perennially unemployed, it is up to the children to earn a living. The eldest daughter Mina promptly takes up prostitution, with full knowledge of family. Keetje has morals - she wants to study, but because the family need money, takes up a job as a washerwoman. Unable to hold that job, she joins a shop selling clothing accessories, where she is one day raped and deflowered by the employer. She falls ill and a doctor comes forward to help, obviously in exchange for sexual favours. She returns home fully cured to find her family are worse off than ever, and even her sister Mina is fired for turning up to work drunk. The only way is to take up her sister's profession, and shockingly the mother helps Keetje prepare for her streetwalking job. When an artist 'discovers' her, she starts moving among the right circles - bankers, land owners and so on, and her life changes for the better.

This is one of Paul Verhoeven's classics, and therefore Highly Recommended Viewing.
Amazon DVD Link.

Compilation: Hannah de Leeuwe and Monique van de Ven

Hannah de Leeuwe and Monique van de Ven in Keetje Tippel

Scene Guide:
  • No nudity - Mina opens her legs for a sailor after being promised some bacon, but Keetje thought she was being molested and attacks him. Slutty Mina is played by the wholesome Hannah de Leeuwe, and Keetje by Monique van de Ven.
  • Outrageous scene as Mina uses the toilet while her family are still dining. Followed by the father eagerly helping Mina into her 'red shoes' as she prepares to go streetwalking.
  • Keetje is asked to do some work at the 'boarding school' - she's shocked to see her sister and two of her colleagues sitting naked in front of an old man. He sees Keetje and asks her to come in. When she refuses, her sister pleads her to help out, and she reluctantly agrees. While Keetje is exciting the elderly gentleman with her exposed underpants, Mina is busy masturbating herself to orgasm.
  • Keetje's clothe-store employer asks her to stay behind and work late. Her innocence is shattered that night as she loses her virginity - the scene isn't particularly gruesome but it still has shock-value.
  • The doctor 'examining' Keetje's lungs, surrounded by his understudies.
  • The doctor asks Keetje to strip and puts across his proposal for her to consider (for getting herself cured).
  • Keetje takes home some gifts when she gets well, only to see the squalor had deepened. Shameless Mina hands Keetje her red dress to take up prostitution.
  • Keetje with her first client - he insists on examining her vagina to make sure she hasn't got any disease.
  • Brief nudity as Keetje gets into Hugo's bed - a banker friend of the artist she poses for. They briefly become lovers.
  • But Hugo isn't interested in marrying Keetje - he's aiming high to get ahead career-wise. A disgusted Keetje leaves him and symbolically burns the clothes he bought her at a bathhouse before slipping into the bath.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Katherine Porto in "El Jefe" [2011, Colombia, Argentina]

Jaime Escallon-Buraglia's feature film debut "El Jefe" la película [Eng. Title: The Boss] is a dark comedy about a HR Manager going through mid-life crisis. While the film is mildly entertaining, it is also merely treading down a path well-worn by more illustrious names. Buraglia had tried to keep it 'family-friendly' by sticking to established commercial film norms. It is overall a pretty average film that couldn't have looked out of place even 30 years ago - if you catch my drift.

Ricardo Osario is one disgruntled and despicable man - he hates his job, his co-workers, his family chores, and is desperately seeking excitement. When he's told off by his wife for bringing home the wrong milk for the baby, he heads back in pouring rain to get it exchanged. His wife's close friend Ángela who'd come visiting jumps into his car for a lift, and lo and behold, they end up in bed at a motel. The more he compares the already married Ángela to his wife, the more he falls for her, and they embark on a full-blown affair, to the extent that they even decide to elope. But things obviously don't go according to plan, and Ricardo also gets caught in office intrigue, as scheming employees try desperately to put him on the dock.

Compilation: Katherine Porto
Some of the more interesting scenes of Ricardo's shenanigans with Ángela, played by chica caliente colombianas Katherine Porto.

Katherine Porto in El Jefe

Scene Guide:
  • Ángela appears to have decided to seduce her friend's husband Ricardo with all her "come hither" signals in the car - we'll get to know the reason towards the end of the film.
  • Date no: 2 - at the same motel.
  • Ángela even starts to drop by during office hours - they're interrupted by Ricardo's staff who introduce an act for the forthcoming company anniversary celebrations. But Ángela simply couldn't keep her hands off the 'irresistible' Ricardo.
  • More fun in the motel - Ángela obviously doesn't like wearing a bra - but makes sure she always wears a white top - just in case she gets caught in the rain again..!


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Annett Renneberg in "Devot" [2003, Germany]

As far as I know, "Devot" [Eng. Title: Devotion] appears to be the only released feature film of Igor Zaritzky. But unless he had given up film making, for his talents he should have made more films by now - he has what it takes to be a good director.

This film was billed a psychological thriller. Agreed, it isn't a perfect film - we have too many different strands of thought, and not all get to be followed through to their completion. But there are some great ideas lurking in them - if only they were developed further. The film also could have worked better if it was constructed as psychological drama as opposed to a thriller. The film's beginning and the end make sense, but the meaty middle bit meanders and looses track. A tightened screenplay would have made into a rather good drama instead. Apart from this, it is actually very well put together in terms of cinematography, editing, lighting and sound. Importantly you have great chemistry between the lead actors who appear on screen for almost the whole duration of the film. It's one thing definitely going for it, and at least for that reason, the film is worth checking out. Recommended Viewing.

The film starts in a similar vein to "La Ardilla Roja" posted recently - the only difference is, here we have a young woman, Anja trying to jump off a bridge, only to be noticed by a passing driver, Henry. But instead of being concerned, he makes her believe he'd taken her for a prostitute, and enquires about her fee. Anja plays along and gets in the car, and they end up in Henry's place where most of the events unfold. We see each of them having something to hide, and Henry getting increasingly frustrated with Anja's mind games. The ending won't be to everyone's liking, particularly if they're fed on a diet of feel-good films from Hollywood - this one is provocative, and very German. Anja is excellently played by Annett Renneberg - there's something 'wickedly' charming about her that despite her outrageous behaviour, you couldn't help but fall in love with her character as the film progresses.

As usual, the compilations are made from my DVD. There's also a great deal going at for those interested.

Compilation: Annett Renneberg

Annett Renneberg in Devot

Scene Guide:
  • After bringing Anja home, Henry asks her to strip for sex, for that's what he paid her for. Anja is hopeless in pretending to behave like a prostitute, and rushes into the bathroom after feeling humiliated - he had now commented on her cheap perfume. She wants to return the money and leave, but Henry wants his 'money's worth'.
  • Anja changes her mind and obliges Henry, but the manner in which this sex scene is made is quite strange, with Anja seemingly enjoying being physically assaulted and suffocated. If this had something to do with the rape ordeal in a 'story' she narrates to Henry, it is not sufficiently correlated. Whatever the case, she's frustrated at the end of it and rushes off to the bathroom leaving Henry bewildered.
  • There's a surveillance camera in the bath (now why would anyone have one there?). Henry switches the monitor off after noticing Anja had noticed it. But when he checks in to the bathroom to see what's taking her so long, he's shocked to see Anja had slit her wrists - he tries to resuscitate her but gets no response and calls emergency.
  • Knowing the bruised lips and handcuff marks on her wrist will count against him if the authorities get involved, he buries her 'body' in a shallow grave at the backyard. But he couldn't sleep and has nightmares.
  • He goes back to the grave to make sure it is all okay, and discovering Anja isn't dead after all, he brings her back in.
  • Anja has low blood pressure, and sometimes has fainting spells. In the bathroom, she starts remembering what happened to her in the bath. She thinks Henry had tried to kill her, and decides to leave.

Bonus Scene: Extended version of the love scene
Here's the longer version - taken from the DVD extras. It also includes more frontal nudity, but quality-wise, the scenes from the main film are better. But I wonder why Zaritzky didn't use this in the final cut as this is far more erotic.

Annett Renneberg, extended love scene in Devot


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Emma Suárez in Julio Medem's "La Ardilla Roja" [1993, Spain]

Julio Medem's second feature film, "La Ardilla Roja" [Eng. Title: the Red Squirrel] was also my first Medem - it impressed me enough to want to follow his other works from then on. I now have all his feature films on DVD, and one can safely say that I'm not the only one who eagerly looks forward each of his releases. While his most recent film may not be among his masterpieces, he nevertheless remains my favourite Spanish director.

La Ardilla Roja is outwardly a romantic thriller but has several layers in it, which will be revealed by paying attention to detail, or several viewings even. It is a psychological drama, surreal and melodramatic at times, certainly twisted, and also erotic. The film is also an excellent introduction to Julio Medem as it uses symbolism more sparingly than his earlier film Vacas or some of his later works.

Jota is about to throw himself onto the rocks by the sea - his partner of several years had just left him. But he's forced to postpone the act when a motorcycle crash-lands on the beach below, and he goes down to offer some help. He realises the person on the bike is a woman, who'd temporarily gone into amnesia following the fall. But he had already fallen in love with her 'blue and tangled' eyes, and having little to loose, claims at the hospital that he is indeed her fiancé and that they were in the bike together - only he managed to jump off the bike before it hit the railing. He also gives her name as 'Lisa' - the name of his ex-girlfriend. When the hospital authorities ask him to bring them her papers for verification, he quietly smuggles her out of the hospital and takes her on a camping trip to a site called, "The Red Squirrel". As the days progress, 'Lisa' and Jota fall in love. But Jota wonders if she's truly lost her memory, or whether she's just making it all up - playing a game with him instead. How long will he keep this lie going, and what will he do when he learns who she actually is..?

The screenplay and direction is simply brilliant, beautifully piecing together a mystery as the film reaches its conclusion. There are several 'Medem' touches that will be applied more famously in his future films. The soundtrack and editing is just as awesome, and beautiful Emma Suárez who plays the woman, successfully retains an air of mystery about her throughout the film. This is one of Medem's early classics, and therefore, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

The scenes below were compiled from the DVD that came with my Box-set, but the film can also be purchased individually through this Amazon DVD link.

Compilation: Emma Suárez
There's only brief nudity in all these scenes but they're all interesting nevertheless.

Emma Suárez in La Ardilla Roja

Scene Guide:
  • 'Lisa' wakes up in the camp site to the sounds of the neighbour's children playing father-mother. She remembers telling neighbours last night that she's married, and asks Jota if they indeed are, or even if she was once married to someone else.
  • Brief scene at the communal showers - 'Lisa' spontaneously starts singing in German.
  • There's no nudity in this outdoor sex scene at night but I liked the way it is filmed and edited - left it here as it's in keeping with the blog's theme.
  • Skinny dipping by the lake - Jota realises 'Lisa' is a better athlete than him.
  • 'Lisa' assures him that she truly doesn't remember anything from her past and that she also doesn't care. She asks him instead if he still loves her, which he obviously seems to.
  • Interesting scene even if there's only brief nudity, and that too by a body-double. Little Alberto, the neighbour's son tries to be all macho with Lisa as he 'dust's' Lisa's trousers after a fall. She turns around and asks him if he wants to feel her ass again. "I bet you want to touch me there, don't you..." she asks. She takes his hand and inserts it under her pants much to the shock of Jota and Alberto's dad, and once the hand reaches its destination, she warns him, "now it's going to bite you..." You can follow the rest.
  • Apparently 'Lisa' does have a husband - a maniacal one at that - and her real name, Sofia. In this dream scene she desperately clings to Jota as her husband tries to snatch her away in the only way one could - by groping her from behind. The reason behind the depiction of this scene will become apparent while watching the full film when Jota and Lisa discuss their respective sexual desires and fantasies. The red earth in the background will appear again more prominently in Medem's next feature (Tierra).


Monday, 22 August 2011

Ingrid Thulin in "Vargtimmen" [1968, Sweden]

Ingmar Bergman ventures into horror genre in this 1968 classic, "Vargtimmen" [Eng. Title: The Hour of the Wolf]. Versatile though the great man is, as ever, he doesn't for a frame forego his meticulous attention to detail. You don't have impressive special effects here - he instead gives us a master class in editing and cinematography which in itself is more than enough to trigger the audience imagination into conjuring up the ensuing horror.

The film can be seen from two angles - as a study of neurosis and the manner in which it could spread to people close to the person suffering from it, or as a study of the effects of an artist's torment. I personally prefer the former as it is illustrated magnificently on its own without the need for additional reference points from other works.

The hour of the wolf alludes to that time of night when death (or birth) occurs, as do nightmares for restless people. Landscape painter Johan relocates to a secluded island with his wife Alma - the only other occupants there are the owners of the island - Baron von Merkens and his family. Johan prefers solitude, and Alma, very much in love with her husband, agrees to the move - she is also pregnant. We observe their daily rituals and gradually get a picture of Johan - who surely appears to have a few skeletons in his closet. These are only revealed during the last half hour of the film as it explodes into a series of dramatic events. By the time the film finishes, we are left with our mouth wide open wondering what the hell just happened - as always - Bergman strikes us clinically giving us little time to prepare ourselves for what's about to happen.

The film is studded with impressive surreal imagery but don't get distracted by it - most of it is purely atmospheric, like the images of the raven and the flight of pigeons - that is cinematographer Sven Nykvist showing off and teasing us. What is impressive however is the manner in which Bergman builds Johan's character and gives us as a vivid portrait of his advancing mental illness. Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann who plays Alma is absolutely gorgeous in this film - she was also actually pregnant (with Bergman's child) during the filming - there must be something about pregnancy that brings out this special glow in women I suppose - you find it in her, and it is simply beautiful. The DVD extras include some insightful interviews with Bergman, Ullmann, and Erland Josephson about the film's making - simply precious and revealing. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Amazon DVD Link

Compilation: Ingrid Thulin

Ingrid Thulin in Vargtimmen

Scene Guide:
  • Troubled artist Johan notices a ghost from his past - Veronica Vogler, a married woman he once had a torrid affair with, turn up in the island where least expected, complaining about the marks he left on her the night before - she's apparently a relative of the island's owners. Veronica is played by a younger looking and sensuous Ingrid Thulin.
  • A surreal scene towards the end where Johan sees Veronica 'rise from the dead', to taunt him, along with her decadent relatives.


Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sandra Ballesteros & co in "El lado Oscuro del Corazón" [1992, Argentina]

Eliseo Subiela is one of Argentina's surreal directors who tends to delve into the esoteric, I've several films of his in my collection, and among them, his 1992 romantic drama "El lado Oscuro del Corazón" [Eng. Title: The Dark Side of the Heart] remains my favourite. The same can't be said of my DVD from which this compilation was made - the full-frame transfer is of poor quality. Having said that, mine is an old edition DVD (2004) and I don't know if there have been subsequent editions, but if the film ever gets a remastered release, this post will of course be updated.

That however is the only negative observation in this review. The film itself is beautifully crafted, and told with great passion and love. The screenplay, direction, soundtrack and particularly the script is exemplary, with a lot of dialogues taken from the poetry of Mario Benedetti (who incidentally acts in the film too - as a German poet).

In Subiela films, if you look beyond the subject he'd chosen and step into his world, you'll begin to enjoy his quirky interpretations and exuberant but graceful style of film-making. Even though he may occasionally borrow thematic elements from other masters, his films on the whole are totally unique and thought provoking.

Oliverio is a dreamer - a poet who is looking to meet the perfect woman in his life - a woman who can make him literally 'fly'. He steadfastly refuses to 'grow up' and take responsibility - he had already separated from his wife, and now shuttles between Buenos Aires and Montenegro whenever he needs money, to prostitute his writing talents for an advertising agency. It is during one of these trips that he meets Ana, a single mother who similarly prostitutes her body to the extent needed to live and save up for her child. Unlike Oliverio, Ana has a practical goal typical of most women, and despite knowing that, Oliverio falls in love. Yes - they fly every time they make love, but that alone apparently isn't enough for them to stay together. In addition to these two lovers, you have Oliverio's nagging conscience, and 'Death' herself who keeps following him around, with some rather interesting interactions between them. Loosely translating one of their conversations from memory, "...You keep following me - are you in love with me?" he asks. "Why don't you take me... I bet you must be dying to feel my hand between your legs, and to have your tits squeezed, you fucking death". She replies, "I could take you, but you still use words that stop me from doing so." This is the kind of tone used throughout the film.

Despite the DVD quality, this is a gem of a film - incredibly romantic and gloriously escapist. It is also perhaps among Argentina's all-time top twenty films, and therefore, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Compilation: Miriam Odorica, Delfina Grau, Marisa Aguilera, Sandra Ballesteros, and Inés Vernengo

Miriam Odorica, Delfina Grau, Marisa Aguilera, Sandra Ballesteros, and Inés Vernengo in El Lado Oscuro del Corazón

Scene Guide:
  • Funny scene - Oliverio tells the woman what he expects - he doesn't mind whether they stink or are ugly, as long as they can make him fly. You'll see what happens to those who didn't. The wholesome woman is played by Miriam Odorica.
  • Oliverio returns to the studio he shares with his sculptor friend. The woman isn't fazed by being seen naked by others. Played by Delfina Grau.
  • I've left a couple of minutes of the scene preceding the nudity, where Oliverio extols the rapacious sexual appetite of 'hairy' women, whose vagina work like a vacuum cleaner - apparently. Whatever the case, she too fails to make him fly that night. The hairy woman is played by Marisa Aguilera.
  • Oliverio and Ana finally make love - but just as they start levitating, Ana pleads him to stop. Ana is played by the very Argentinian beauty, Sandra Ballesteros.
  • Delfina again - this time frolicking in the apartment.
  • Oliverio brings home a blind woman this time. While she's intelligent and good in bed - all she could do was only 'see' colours during orgasm. The blind woman is played by Inés Vernengo.
  • Seminal scene - of Ana and Olverio together, watched disapprovingly by 'Death'.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Maddalena Maggi & Barbora Bobulova in "Il Siero della Vanità" [2004, Italy]

Alex Infascelli's 2004 thriller "Il Siero della Vanità" [Eng. Title: The Vanity Serum] is meant to be a scathing attack on reality TV and how they play to the gallery for ratings and massage the ego of celebrities. He gets that message through in the film, but as a thriller, it has too many loose ends to make it work. Some writers think they can get way by showing people getting into trouble by doing stupid things - but it is difficult to believe it if characters who're supposedly intelligent throw common sense out of the window in the process.

It is however technically well made even if there's nothing special to say about it. I'm just posting this for the record as there is also brief nudity in the film that not many may be aware of.

After some random celebrities go missing, the Police ask for the services of Lucia Allasco - a former Officer and ex-wife of the Assistant Commissioner. After an injury that happened during her last case, she now has a permanent limp and is also a recovering alcoholic. Lucia discovers that all the missing had appeared together in a chat show ten years ago, and tries to track down the others who also appeared in it - obviously to protect them. In the process she lands herself in trouble. Lucia is played by Margherita Buy.

Compilation: Maddalena Maggi and Barbora Bobulova

Maddalena Maggi and Barbora Bobulova in Il Siero della Vanità

Scene Guide:
  • Pop singer Esther Bonanni with her lover and later getting in and out of shower, played by Maddalena Maggi.
  • Very brief nudity - former Miss Italy Azzurra Rispoli at a party, and later after shower, played by Barbora Bobulova.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Christine Boisson & co in "La Mécanique des Femmes" [2000, France]

Jérôme de Missolz apparently based his film "La Mécanique des Femmes" [Eng. Title: The Mechanics of Women] on a controversial novel by Louis Calaferte. While I've not read her work and therefore not in a position to judge its interpretation, I can say for certain that this is one of the most annoying and least enjoyable films I've seen recently. And what is even more annoying is that it is precisely because of this reason that they linger in your mind for longer than they should..!

I honestly can't see what the film is getting at - is this supposed to be a man exploring post-feminism, Catherine Breillat style? In which case it has failed miserably. The director was probably trying to 'build' the male protagonist's character in the film by the manner in which women interact with him. May be the protagonist is merely used as a 'soap-box' from where these women tell us what they feel. But what we see is just pretentious rubbish - I for one didn't care for any of them, not least the protagonist. The film uses vulgarity to shock the audience (a la "Ma Mère"), but there's nothing to provoke your thought - and the film is not even erotic. Apart from its cinematography, especially the night scenes of Paris and a decent soundtrack, I cannot find anything positive to say about this film. Yes there is plenty of nudity shown from almost every conceivable angle but if that's all one's looking for, there are plenty of other options than spending money to watch this.

The Storyline:
(or more accurately, what happens in the film - there's no story)
A man who recently ended a relationship goes through a string of women of all shapes and sizes and is still not sure what he wants at the end of it. I'm trying to rush through this write-up as the more I think about the film, the more it pisses me off..!

By the way, while I've quoted Ms. Breillat more than once in this blog, and also have some of her films on DVD, I'm not sure I want to start her filmography here yet. In fact I've been revisiting my excellent brand new Eric Rohmer box-set of late - so my next French film will likely be from one of his classics.
The compilations are longer than usual, and perhaps more than what they should ideally be - but I don't often have the time to make several compilations, as each one needs to be accompanied by its own graphic.


Compilation 1: Fabienne Babe and Christine Boisson
It's a shame I had to introduce Christine Boisson into the blog with this one - she's actually a pretty good actress who has also worked in some fine films.

Fabienne Babe and Christine Boisson

Scene Guide:
  • A crazy girl 'pulling out all stops' to turn the guy on - played by Fabienne Babe - she's a babe alright - and proves she could be shameless too..!
  • The protagonist gets fixated with the character played by Christine Boisson from the moment he set eyes on her at a club - a nymphomaniac who hunts down different men each day. She tells him how ready she always is for sex.
  • Sunbathing topless by the river.
  • This is meant to be erotic - we also see Ms. Boisson handling penis on at least two occasions, and at least two instances of actual or implied cunnilingus.
  • More, almost repetitive sex scenes only make them tedious to watch.
  • We see a brief scene of a new character telling him off for being so obsessive - one of her breasts gets briefly exposed, but I couldn't identify the actress. Perhaps someone who recognises her can fill us in.
  • The protagonist lets a stranger have fun with Ms. Boisson's character first.
  • From the film's end scenes.


Compilation 2: Florence Loiret-Caille, Katerina Savrani, Florence Denou, and others
These women form the rest of the protagonist's exploits.

Florence Loiret-Caille, Katerina Savrani, and Florence Denou in La Mécanique des Femmes

Scene Guide:
  • At over eight minutes, these almost continuous set of scenes are also the most entertaining of the lot, as "douce petite salope" played by belle petite Florence Loiret-Caille impresses upon her lover - the protagonist.
  • A freaky goth chick discards her clothing and runs naked through the park after taunting an elderly man. This actress has been identified as Séverine Paquier in an old Collecta clip - I couldn't verify it for myself even though I'm aware the actress appears in the film's credits, but I trust his knowledge in these matters.
  • Almost a monologue from voluptuous Mediterranean beauty Katerina Savrani.
  • More pussy-obsession from the protagonist with another unidentified actress.
  • Florence Denou only offers a brief tit-slip in this film, but she's done a whole lot more in a segment from this same director's much more interesting film about photographers exploring their own body through self-portraits, "Le Corps Sublime".
  • No nudity, but more of Florence Denou - this time at the beach.


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Mathilda May & Laura Mañá in "La Teta i la Lluna" [1994, Spain / France]

This is a famous classic which needs to go in here as part of Bigas Luna's filmography. "La Teta i la Lluna" [Spanish Title: La Teta y la Luna, Eng. Title: The Tit and the Moon] is possibly Luna's finest 'mainstream' film, one that has surprisingly been overlooked by many critics - this film deserves a lot more accolades than it has due to its rich symbolism and captivating story.

Unlike some who think this is a 'coming-of-age' film, it is actually a celebration of childhood, motherhood, womanhood, and good old Catalunya. This film has great depth, which may relate to native Catalonians readily than others who may require more than one viewing to understand some of its nuances. Having said that, the film is also playful in a style reminiscent of Federico Fellini's "Amarcord" - what we see is Luna's unabashed love of his homeland, its people and their quirks. He throws in a lot of 'foreigners' in the film to give us an insight into what it means to be a Catalonian. Unbelievably this is also so unlike a typical Bigas Luna film - most of his films are darker and sceptical.

The film has a lot of things going for it - the lush cinematography, the hilariously incongruous Flamenco soundtrack, the excellent performances by the young protagonist (he's one cute little fellar) and the delightful French actress Mathilda May, the characterisation is superb, as is the witty and sometimes irreverant dialogues. If you are ever stuck with the option of having to buy only one film by Bigas Luna, make sure it is "La Teta y la Luna" - trust me - you will not regret it. Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Compilation 1: Laura Mañá and Mathilda May
The compilations follow the storyline, explained through the scene guides.

Laura Mañá and Mathilda May in La Teta y la Luna

Scene Guide:
  • Young Tete is the final piece required to complete the human castle for his team in this Catalonian cultural sport - he introduces us to his friends and family (including his insufferably macho-dad demanding his son to prove he has 'balls' - I left some of the funny dialogues in this scene so you'll get the idea). Tete also tells us how he always makes sure to feel up the 'rock solid' tetas of Stallone's girlfriend on his way up (the woman is played by Vanessa Isbert if you really need to know).
  • Tete is upset he can no longer be suckled by his mum - his kid brother had now arrived - he watches with jealousy when his mother feeds him. He asks the moon to find him a new set of tits just for himself. The mother is played by the wholesome Laura Mañá. She had however played a totally different character in a Vicente Aranda film which I'll post later.
  • Hilarious scene - Tete believes his dad fills his mother up with milk every night so she could feed the baby brother - his mum's ecstatic cries while making love, "fill me - fill me with your milk" is his proof of what's happening every night..!
  • The moon listens to Tete and sends in Estrellita, a Portuguese ballerina performing at a travelling circus. She lives with her French husband Maurice in a caravan - who'd earned his reputation as the 'Fire King' - you'll now what I mean very soon. Here he finds it hard to accomplish his conjugal duties after a long day at work..!
  • Tete watches Estrellita practice, and perform later at the show. Estrellita is played by the lovely Mathilda May.
  • There's a beautiful mixture of reality and fantasy here as Tete goes about sizing the breasts of women n his neighbourhood.
  • Tete has competition in winning the affections of Estrellita - his Andalusian friend Miguel who'd already fallen in love with her. Here Estrellita tells her husband about the lad who sang to her and feels 'sparks' when touched by her.
  • Tete trumps Miguel by befriending Estrellita first, and endearingly begs her for milk as his mum will give him milk no more.


Compilation 2: Mathilda May and Laura Mañá

Mathilda May & Laura Mañá in La Teta y la Luna

Scene Guide:
  • Tete narrates the 'strange' habits of foreigners, about Estrellita's toe-sucking fetish and her fondness for baguette.
  • We also see Estrellita enjoying licking Miguel's tears (naughty Luna). She nevertheless rewards him afterwards.
  • But the water bed springs a leak, and husband Maurice finds out what's going on - but there's little he could do but allow Miguel to 'fill her up' with the milk that he couldn't.
  • Estrellita vanishes briefly with her husband - she loves her Maurice too much to keep messing with Miguel. But returns during the next human castle - Tete is 'inspired' to complete the castle and wins accolades from his dad. He also gets rewarded by the two most important women in his short little life, Esrtellita and of course, his mother - his mother's milk tastes much better than Estrellita's - he opines.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Nailea Norvind, Ana Serradilla, others in "La Otra Familia" [2011, Mexico]

Gustavo Loza's drama, "La Otra Familia" [Eng. Title: The Other Family] is about a young boy going through extraordinary tribulations in trying to live a normal family life.

But by making this film, the director had tried to tackle too many issues using a rather convoluted plot, which makes it doubly harder to write anything meaningful about it. The film as it stands is over two hours long, and he uses a lot of its time in trying and put his points across by dumbing it down for what could perhaps be a not-too-demanding but conservative audience, like those who'd watch day-time TV dramas. I think this could have possibly worked as a TV mini-series as opposed to a feature film. It is however competently put together - my only issues with it being the script and screenplay. The art direction is actually pretty good, and so is the soundtrack. But I liked his earlier film featuring a similar theme, "Al Otro Lado" better.

Hendrix is stuck with his wasted mother Nina despite her leaving him unattended for days on end during her frequent drug-trips with junkie boyfriend Patrick. Her worried friend Ivana leaves Hendrix at her friends' house - a wealthy gay couple, and forcibly puts Nina into rehab. But Nina escapes and throws a fit after learning her son is living with someone who's name Ivana will not disclose. The police get involved. In between all this, Patrick tries to sell Hendrix to a childless couple without Nina's knowledge to help pay off his debts with a drug dealer. There are further sub-plots involving other characters which makes the film even more complex, more than it really needs to.

Compilation: Nailea Norvind, Ximena Herrera, Ana Serradilla, and Ana Soler

Nailea Norvind, Ximena Herrera, Ana Serradilla, and Ana Soler

Scene Guide:
  • Drug junkie mum Nina had completely forgotten she had left her son Hendrix on his own for three days. Nina is played by Nailea Norvind.
  • Nina is awoken only to find Caiman the drug dealer at the door - he had come to collect his money from Patrick, and tries to help himself to Nina in Patrick's absence.
  • No nudity, but a brief comedic moment when Hendrix is taken to a wrestling match by the gay couple's servant - he doesn't want Hendrix to be influenced too much while living with his gay carers.
  • No nudity but sexy of a married Augustín with his lover, played by Ximena Herrera, who seems to have an awesome set of curves - I hope we get to see more of her in the big-screen one of these days.
  • Nina's friend Ivana lives with her lover Gloria. She joins Gloria in the bath and tries to console her (another story which I won't bother with). Ivana is played by the eminently watchable Ana Serradilla, and Gloria by Ana Soler.
  • Nina has now reached the end of the road. Not a pleasant scene, but left it here purely for the record.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Marina Anna Eich in "Dann nenn es halt Liebe" [2001, Germany]

For a change, here's an introduction to a short film, from Germany...

Multi-talented actress Mira Gittner scripted, directed, photographed, edited, and produced this little romantic piece, "Dann nenn es halt Liebe" [Eng. Title: Call it Love] by casting her colleagues at WTP International - Roland Reber, and Marina Anna Eich. Ms. Eich also won an award for best actress under her category at the AFM 2002.

A middle aged man regularly uses a prostitute for playing out his fantasy - of a couple in love. After a year's acquaintance, we see he is in love with her for real - a threshold had been breeched. The woman's predicament reminded me of the character 'Ariane' in Chantal Akerman's French drama, "La Captive", and while both the characters' circumstances are entirely different, they nevertheless are stuck in dysfunctional relationships. There is only brief nudity in the film, but we certainly get to see a different side of the beautiful Marina Anna Eich here. But this is not the last of what we'll see of her in the blog - I will be covering the bulk of Roland Reber's filmography in the coming weeks, which will portray several more scenes of Ms. Eich.

This film however, also appears among the extras in the DVD for "24 / 7 - The Passion of Life", but the one reviewed here is a 'special' edition - forwarded to me by Ms. Eich herself. It is in full-frame, and comes in two versions - with and without English subtitles. She had also been extremely generous in allowing me to post the entire film. Now that definitely is an exception in this blog, as I don't normally share full films..!

Dann nenn es halt Liebe

Film's Official Website:

Download Full Film (no subs)

Download Full Film (WITH English Subtitles)


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Marina Kalogirou in "Avrio tha 'nai Arga" [2002, Greece]

Not often do we see female directors venturing into crime thrillers, but the multi-faceted Laya Yourgou certainly made a fine impression in her romantic crime drama, "Avrio tha 'nai Arga" [Eng. title: Too Late Tomorrow].

The film doesn't attempt to be too clever for its own sake - it allows events to develop organically, and even if the characters appear clichéd and somewhat idealistic, the story itself is incredibly romantic and gloriously escapist. There is also an endearing air of innocence about it that's refreshing to see nowadays. And there's also nothing wrong with a bit of indulgence in fantasy now and again. It has now generated enough interest in me to want to follow Ms. Yourgou's other works, which I intend to.

As for the story and screenplay, even if it starts off a bit awkwardly like a TV drama, it gets better along the way, and retains viewer interest towards the end. The film is competently put together in terms of cinematography, editing and sound. The performance by the main actors is professional enough, and the standards overall are above your average light entertainment fare.

Storyline: Antonis is given leave from prison to attend his grandma's funeral - we don't know how long he has served, but he has five more months left, and his brother decides to cheer him up by arranging a prostitute. But once he notices Olia, the girl arranged for him harassed by her pimp, he changes his mind, and has an altercation with the pimp. He also falls in love with Olia, and instead of returning to prison to serve the rest of his sentence, he weds her, and tries to make arrangements for her upkeep while he serves the remainder of his sentence. But things don't go according to plan, and his impetuous brother inadvertently land them in trouble. Meanwhile, the erstwhile pimp tries his best to wrest Olia back.

Compilation: Marina Kalogirou
The DVD for this film was letterboxed, but the scene was so special that I decided to enhance it using some new tools I purchased. It taxed my computer no end, but I think the end result is satisfactory - worth the effort as it contains one awesome scene worth keeping.

Marina Kalogirou in Avrio tha 'nai Arga

Scene Guide:
  • Antonis and Olia - their first time together - he'd already fallen for her. Olia is of course played by the utterly gorgeous Marina Kalogirou.
  • They decide to hang out at a disused club. Olia loves it, and they spontaneously get into an intimate session. This is one awesome scene worth keeping I think - what we see are two beautiful people in love, making love - full of chemistry and passion. And the soundtrack is simply spot on.
  • Olia getting ready to take up a job as a waitress at a night club - while Antonis watches over with some trepidation.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

Karolina Gorczyca & Joanna Pierzak in "Hustawka" [2009 Poland]

I stumbled across this Polish film recently quite by chance - it is Tomasz Lewkowicz's directorial debut, "Hustawka" [Eng. Title: The Swing]. The film is supposed to be about a man's dilemma in choosing the person he wants to live with - his attractive and dutiful wife, or the equally attractive but not-so-dutiful mistress.

One can see Lewkowicz was trying to say something serious through the film, and there was nothing wrong in the effort either. But he has a long way to go before tackling this kind of material anywhere near to the standard set by films like Cosa Voglio di Più. I hate to be critical of someone just making his debut, but it has to be said that the screenplay is rather weak and the characterisation lacks necessary depth. He has however put together a pretty looking film - with some good editing, fine cinematography by Mariusz Palej, and not too bad a soundtrack either. The lead actors give a decent account of themselves, notably Karolina Gorczyca who appears to be a talented actress - I hope she gets to do more challenging roles in future if she hasn't already.

Compilation: Karolina Gorczyca and Joanna Pierzak

Karolina Gorczyca and Joanna Pierzak in Hustawka

Scene Guide:
  • The film actually starts promisingly as in this early scene when the audience are given an interesting introduction to Karolina and Michal - we are initially led to believe that she's about to be molested. Karolina is played by Karolina Gorczyca.
  • Michal returns home late as usual and spurns his loving wife Anna's overtures. She gives him her repost in the bedroom later. Anna is played by beautiful Joanna Pierzak.
  • Karolina is the friend of Anna's brother Piotr who hopes to take things further with her. They arrive at Michal's cottage and a jealous Karolina flirts with Piotr after noticing Michal with Anna. A frustrated Karolina gives all the signals to Piotr for sex, but changes her mind soon after. She leaves the following morning after learning Michal's wife is pregnant with her second child.
  • Michal comes looking for Karolina at a bar to find her dancing with Piotr, and has a flashback of his time with her.
  • Michal separates from his wife to go and live with Karolina. It is Christmas and Karolina dresses up as a Christmas tree to give him her present. She had to rush to the kitchen towards the end of the scene.


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Ingrid Thulin in "La Caduta Degli Dei" [1969 Italy, W,Germany]

Luchino Visconti (Luchino Visconti di Modrone) will forever be part of world cinema 'royalty', and that has more to do with his cinematic genius than his genuine aristocratic credentials. Tad ironic perhaps for an avowed communist and a life-long member of the Marxist party!

If I had to compare him alongside three of his other great contemporaries in a single word, it would be, Fellini - the magician, Antonioni - the intellectual, Pasolini - the poet, and Visconti - the classical painter. Okay I give up - I'm really not good at these things, but you should get the idea. Visconti spends extraordinary effort in making sure each of his scenes feel as authentic as possible, be it the set design, props, costumes or make up, be it the stars or the extras, looking at the overall frame along with its associated historical context much like a classical painting - a trait at least partly attributable to his deep involvement in opera and theatre. I will however leave it at that, and instead let you guys learn more about Visconti from proper film historians.

Visconti's drama, "La Caduta Degli Dei" [better known as "The Damned" or "Götterdämmmerung"] is a period piece set in Germany during the rise of Nazism and the Third Reich, and the consequential downfall of an industrialist family. He uses their downfall as a parable to illustrate Nazism's impact on Germany itself. Among his late films, it can be considered one of his masterpieces. Featuring big stars of the day like Dirk Bogarde and Ingrid Thulin, it is a lavish production in every sense, one that also got it nominated for Oscar the following year. I'd first wondered why Visconti chose Helmut Burger over, say a Malcolm McDowell for the role of delinquent son Martin Essenbeck - surely it can't just be for the German accent or looks - and only later learnt that Visconti and Berger were actually lovers at the time and may be that played a part in the choice. But he of course wouldn't compromise the overall film effort because of the choice, and had to bear down heavily on Berger to extract whatever we see of his performance here. And behold, Helmut Berger was even nominated for a Golden Globe for this film - and he improved and went on to make several more films for Visconti..!

The Storyline:
It is a tragedy of betrayal and skulduggery among family members as they try to gain control of the family fortune. Frederick Bruckmann, an ambitious executive at Joachim Von Essenbeck's steel plant is finding his way to the top, thanks to his friendship with an Essenbeck family member who's also an SS officer, but no less his soon-to-become fiancée Sophie, the widowed daughter-in-law and third-in-line to the Essenbeck fortune. People including family members forego all sense of moral fortitude as they try to wrest it from others, and one after the other, they perish. It is not exactly a pleasant film to watch, in fact some scenes will certainly make you uneasy - not for what it shows, but for what it implies. It is also embellished with loaded dialogues, partly because of the difficult subjects dealt with. It is nevertheless a powerful film, and therefore, Recommended Viewing.

Note: The new DVD is a beautifully restored version from the original, and a worthy addition to anyone's film library. The film is shot in English to reach a wider audience ("lest anyone forgets"), but because of the strong accents of some of the actors, it helps to leave subtitles on if you're watching it on DVD. Amazon DVD Link.

Compilation: Ingrid Thulin and others

Ingrid Thulin in La Caduta Degli Dei

Scene Guide:
  • While in bed, Sophie puts some ideas into Frederick's head. He knows only too well that if he really wants it, he should go for it. Sophie of course is played by Ingmar Bergman regular Ingrid Thullin. Visconti was looking for a 'German' actress to play the part and found her in a Swede. On the other hand, Dirk Bogarde too who plays Frederick was not asked to modify his impeccable English accent, despite he playing a German.
  • A snippet from a raucous party at a SA camp.
  • Sophie's son Martin - the black sheep of the family in more ways than one, unexpectedly becomes the heir to the Essenbeck empire. He has far too many issues - one of which is his dislike, fear, and unhealthy obsession with his mother. The imagery may be tame by today's standards, but you've got Ingrid Thulin on it which makes it special. She gives a fine performance throughout the film with a subtle mixture of sensuality and depravity.
  • Martin invites over his 'friends' for his mother's wedding - and some stay on.


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Jimena Guerra in "Santos Peregrinos" [2004, Mexico]

I don't know much about Juan Carlos Carrasco but his debut feature, "Santos Peregrinos" [Eng. Title: Holy Pilgrims] is a predictable albeit black comedy about greed.

Set in a block of tenements in Mexico city, it shows a group of hitherto pious neighbours turn against one another when they discover their holy relic has treasure hidden in them. It begins promisingly but fails to deliver mainly due to poor screenplay. The direction is also to blame for not bringing out the best from the cast. Either because of the DVD quality or poor shot selection and lighting, the cinematography is pedestrian at best. The story is too predictable to hold viewer interest - you won't miss a lot if you left the film running to make yourself a cuppa. There are however a couple of nude scenes worth mentioning - the only purpose for my purchase, and this post. There are a few more barmy Mexican films that I haven't even opened yet - the sheer amount of work cleaning and enhancing for the compilation keeps putting me off - but keep an eye out, as you never know..!.

Compilation: Jimena Guerra and Francesca Guillén

Jimena Guerra and Francesca Guillén in Santos Peregrinos

Scene Guide:
  • Elia struts her stuff for a neighbourhood admirer, unaware that her horny mother and lover had also sneaked in for a quickie. Elia is played by Jimena Guerra.
  • Brothers barge in looking for the hidden treasure, but sister Elia perches atop the loft to escape being discovered.
  • No nudity but watch-worthy, of Elia and her guy interrupted again by the mum and her lover.
  • Probably the best of the lot - after another guy who fancies Elia watches her in the act, and decides to sneak in to grope her.
  • The 'climax' - of Matilda and her geeky boyfriend finding heaven - their neighbours however reach it for real as the bomb he planted goes off. Matilda is played by Francesca Guillén - I'm not sure if she'd done any other nude scenes, but worth looking out for.


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Miren Ibarguren & Olaya Martín in "¿Estás ahí?" [2011, Spain]

Roberto Santiago's comedy, "¿Estás ahí?" [Eng. Trans: You there?] is about a young couple living in a city apartment. Only, one of them's a ghost! Recently killed in an accident, Ana still feels 'alive', and while boyfriend Francesco cannot see or hear her, he feels her presence nevertheless. She too conveys her thoughts by writing on black board or mirrors, and they more or less get used to living together.

When Fran is introduced to Renata by his best friend, he finds her interesting, but it sparks jealousy from Ana. Add to this situation we have 'Claudio' - a ghost who's in love with Ana (the ghost) - you can guess the situations these could arise. It is however a well made gentle comedy and has some moving and romantic moments thrown in too. Recommended Viewing..!

Compilation: Miren Ibarguren and Olaya Martín
Note there is only brief nudity in the film, but interesting nevertheless.

Miren Ibarguren and Olaya Martín in Estás ahí

Scene Guide:
  • A brief scene of mature Carme Elias (credited as Carmen Elias) who plays Francesco's mum. No one among his family and friends seem to believe that Ana's ghost exists in the house, but they acknowledge something's not quite right. There's no nudity here - Elias offering us only a brief upskirt, but for those interested, you may want to checkout how striking she looked during her youthful days from the catalan film, "L'orgia" - use this link.
  • No nudity, as Ana plays with Fran in the shower. Ana is played by Miren Ibarguren.
  • Ana 'hijacks' Renata's body to make love to Fran. Fran hasn't a clue that it was Ana all the time. The film's end credits tell that a body-double was used for Miren Ibarguren, but she is naked regardless. We also have brief nudity from Olaya Martín who plays Renata - as reflected on the mirror.