Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Marta Fernández Muro & Cecilia Roth in "Laberinto de Pasiones" [1982 Spain]

For those who may not know, early films by Pedro Almodóvar were pretty much underground affairs - he was part of Spain's counter-culture, and also fronted a music band. The 1982 drama, "Laberinto de Pasiones" [Eng. Title: Labyrinth of Passion] may have been his second full-length 'mainstream' film, but it still retained the borderline irreverence of his early period - he was after all, an 'outsider' indulgently lapping up the sweeping changes that his country was witnessing at the time. There is a reason why many (like me) prefer this phase of his early works. His later works may no doubt be far more accomplished, but the rawness and freedom of his earlier works are like a breath of fresh air, filled with conviction that nothing 'awful' could ever happen to the youth of Spain because they now have the right to express themselves as never before.

The film is essentially a series of interconnected sketches involving a gay exiled prince, his family, a gay terrorist looking to kidnap him, a laundryman and his daughter, and her fascination with a nymphomaniacal pop-singer, who's the daughter of an eminent gynaecologist. I won't explain the plot, but rest assured this is one of the most hilarious, outrageously twisted, and totally irreverent films that you'd get to see. Some of the gags are too shocking to even be taken seriously. And Almodóvar also makes an appearance as his punk-rocker self, complete with micro-skirt and facial make-up, performing at a gig with his other group members..! :)

The film showcases the genius of Almodóvar in every way, and is a must-see for anyone interested in his films. Needless to say, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

Amazon DVD Link


The Nudity:
There are scenes of nudity from male actors such as a young Antonio Banderas, and Imanol Arias, and also from actresses Marta Fernández Muro, who plays laundryman's daughter Queti, and Cecilia Roth who plays nymphomaniac Sexilia.

Marta Fernandez Muro and Cecilia Roth in Laberinto de Pasiones

Scene Guide:
  • Outrageous scene - in denial after his wife leaves him, a laundryman mistakes daughter Queti for his wife and has his way with her every other day after taking some sex-enhancement drugs. To discourage and sedate him, Queti had been giving him another drug which unfortunately causes a side effect of increasing his paranoia. I'm hesitant to use the word 'rape' for a reason - Almodóvar will play similar mind games with us in his later films too such as Kika, Átame!, and La Piel que Habito. Queti in this scene is played by Marta Fernández Muro. If you look beyond the shock factor, the scene is actually quite silly, sexy, and funny.
  • Nymphomaniac singer Sexilia - played tongue-in-cheek by Cecilia Roth, feels bored in the middle of an orgy, and asks to be excused on the occasion - she'd been thinking of a guy she met at the club. That guy is prince Riza of 'Tiran', hitherto gay, but he too couldn't perform with his boyfriend that night - now that's 'love'..! :)
  • There's only brief nudity here but it is a 'poetic' comparison to the first scene. Queti is an ardent fan of Sexilia, and undergoes a cosmetic procedure to look exactly like her idol - she'd agreed to pursue Sexilia's modelling career on her behalf so that the original could elope with the prince to a caribbean destination. But the altered Queti had now fallen for Sexilia's workaholic father, and even encourages him and her psychiatrist-friend Susanna into believing that she's enthusiastically embracing an incestuous relationship..!


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