Monday, 3 September 2012

Bigas Luna critiques Spanish machismo in "Huevos de Oro" [1993 Spain]

Whether or not we like the early works of Catalan director Bigas Luna, one thing we have to give him credit for is his determination to never pussy-foot around what he's trying to say. There is no polite-talk, no 'birds and bees' euphemisms - he just drives home the message in a no uncertain manner, even crudely if necessary. His 1993 drama "Huevos de Oro" [Eng. Title: Golden Balls] may not be as testosterone-laden as his earlier film, Jamón Jamón, but is nevertheless all to do with 'balls'!

Benito González is our man with the 'golden balls' - he's a hilariously drawn caricature of your everyday Spanish stud. He dreams of becoming a property tycoon, building a high-rise tower with swimming pools and topless bars, owning gold Rolex watches, and trophy women ideally weighing less than 47KG (apparently because of the way he 'moves'). To complete the picture, dear Benito also loves to sing along to cheesy tunes. I could't help thinking I've seen at least a handful like him in my local pub on Friday nights - okay they might not particularly pick a Julio Iglesias song, a Tom Jones perhaps. After army service, he returns to mainland Spain to get working on his dream. He befriends a banker and marries his lovely and cultured daughter Marta (45 KG) to get his 'González Tower' started, whilst retaining girlfriend Claudita (52 KG) whom he occasionally uses to close deals with clients and partners. Marta soon catches whiff of Benito's ongoing affair with Claudia and even ends up striking an unlikely friendship with her. The three of them live happily together until tragedy strikes and his fortunes are turned to the worse in the most spectacular fashion. Dumped by his wife, Benito will soon find himself in Miami, forced to share the waitress he brought along - Ana (don't ask a woman her weight), with his gardener. Talk about a full circle..!

I simply can't see Luna pulling this off without the astonishing talents of Javier Bardem who plays Benito - Bardem surely must share a fair chunk of the credit for Benito's characterisation. The film is intentionally over-the-top, and meant to talk to people quite unlike Benito, which I'm sure it does splendidly - right from the choice of locations (Melilla in the Spanish territory of Africa, Benidorm in Spain, and Miami in the US of A), to the language used, and not least the focus on the construction industry (the bubble that has come to haunt Spain today), Luna has crossed all the t's and dotted the i's with panache. This may not be a cerebral film, but he has admirably pulled no punches in critiquing Spanish machismo, and for that reason, it is Recommended Viewing..! DVD Link
My recommended DVD from the transfers currently available


Compilation: Elisa Tovati, Maribel Verdú, Maria de Medeiros, and Raquel Bianca
Some additional scenes from the film have not been included - just an editorial choice.

Elisa Tovati, Maribel Verdú, Maria de Medeiros, and Raquel Bianca in Huevos de Oro

Scene Guide:
  • Benito had 'fallen in love' with Rita (47 KG) - a waitress at a bar in Melilla, but who obviously seems to be drawn more towards his pal despite being promised a personal bath and bidet if she accompanies him back to mainland Spain. Rita is played by a curvy Elisa Tovati, and the pal's woman by Stella Condorelli.
  • After returning his hometown (alone), Benito meets and is drawn towards Claudia, even if she's a few pounds above his 'ideal' woman. This is a long scene where Benito also asks her to sleep with his banker in order to get a loan approved. Maribel Verdú is fabulous, witty and sexy as ever as she plays the part of Claudia. If you can follow the dialogues, you'll see the scene is actually quite funny.
  • Benito weds Marta - daughter of his banker, she's played by the lovely doe-eyed Maria de Medeiros. Culturally refined Marta couldn't believe she'd married and even fallen in love with a bloke like him - but does it surprise anybody else..!
  • Marta's discovery of Benito's affair with Claudia, followed by their outrageously forcible introduction by Benito, and an unexpected chemistry between the two women that results in a ménage à trois - this is possibly the most erotic scene in the film. What's it about two women kissing that turn men on so much - I haven't figured it out yet, and no sociologist or anthropologist has given me a satisfactory explanation so far!
  • Marta has had enough with Benito after he brings in a trollop from a bar - Ana (she wouldn't reveal her weight) is played by Raquel Blanca.

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