NEW SPANISH CINEMA FEATURE
Almodovar’s tilmmaking style evolved
gradually as he picked up the ‘language’ of
cinema; his celebrated use of bold. bright colours (gloriously displayed in Women ()2: The Verge) is again evident in Kika. He explains that. from the age of three until she was in her thirties. his mother dressed in black as she mourned a succession of dead relatives. ‘I think I’m the answer to this.’ he smiles. He was also inﬂuenced by the landscape of his childhood. where the horizon was unbroken by trees. ‘l.a Mancha is all white and black. You never see colours. The landscape is absolutely abstract. And people are very sober.’
The films of Almodovar cover the spectrum of human sexuality — ’Men and women never understand each other and we were not created to understand each other.‘ They are also notable for their focus on women — ‘Kika is very strong: Andrea is also very strong in her own way. as strong as a robot. but for me she represents more an idea than a person and I light against that idea.‘ Detractors. however. argue that he merely parodies women. Certainly. Almodovar is irritated by accusations of misogyny over Kika's long rape scene. in which our heroine attempts to negotiate with her attacker.
‘The difference between Kika and the other movies is that Kika is a more abstract movie. It represents more howl feel . . . the atmosphere of big towns, the hostility that we are condemned to.’
‘Those who accuse me of being a misogynist. because they think I'm making fun of a scene . . . I don’t think they really understand all the great comedies that have been made in the history ofcinema.‘ he counters. ‘Human beings make fun of things that hurt them most. and the great comedians above all. They couldn’t maybe understand how Charlie Chaplin could
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‘Those who accuse me of helng mlsogynlst, because they think I’m makan fun of a scene I don’t thlnk they really understand all the great comedies that have been made in the history of clnema.’ Pedro Almodévar
make a tilm like The Great Dictator. where he made fun of Hitler. I think rape is awful. but this is so obvious. that explaining . . . ’
His latest film expands on the urban isolation which is explored in previous offerings includ- ing What Have I Done To Deserve This?. a marvellously funny. bleak look at life in a soulless tower block: ‘The difference between Kika and the other movies is that Kika. curiously. is a more abstract movie. It is the least naturalistic. It represents more how I feel . . . the atmosphere of big towns. the hostility that we are condemned to. Only with optimism can you survive that hell.’
He laughs at his predicament: ‘I couldn‘t live in the country and. really. I can’t be around the town. This has put me in a very difficult
situation. All the time Kika is talking. but nobody understands her or pays attention orjust cares. in the big cities. people don’t have time to see their own families. There’s no time to develop a new friendship or a new relationship. We’ve created a life in the cities which goes really badly with our necessities. and I don’t know how we did it. That’s why I don’t like LA. I like cities with streets. where you communi- cate. So there is no place for me now.’
He laughs again and taps the nearby table for emphasis. ‘You have to find me one.’ Anywhere but Hollywood. C]
K ika opens at the Edinburgh Filnzhouse on Friday 8 and Glasgow Film Theatre on Friday 15.
destroyed. he cries. Then. I like him.’
For a Spanish movie to take a rise out of
machismo is hardly unexpected. Almodovar. whose films are much more influenced by Hollywood melodrama and the international language of kitsch. has been doing it for years. But the phallocentric paradigm Luna comes up with here is something else again: here's a guy who won’t be satisfied until he’s got two women on the go. a Rolex watch on each wrist.
fOI‘HIlllUllOIl . . .
and has knocked up the tallest apartment block in Benidorm. building regulations notwith- standing. ln Spain. apparently. the connection between tough-guy posturing and architecture makes a lot of sense.
‘ln my country. construction is a macho business.‘ explains Senor Luna, stroking a neatly trimmed salt-and-pepper heard. ‘A lot of guys with no intellectual . . . how you say? . . . got involved in the building
'I think that the attitude to sex In this film Is very Medlterranean.’ Blges Luna
boom caused by tourism. and suddenly they’re swarming around with three Mercedes cars and six Alsatian dogs in the back. The problem of machismo. you know, is basically one of culture.’
Yet if it sounds that Luna is patronising his subject matter. the truth is far from the case. Yes. he’s fascinated by the macho, but he also wants us to understand the guy. ‘I want to try to explain my country, so Benito’s relationship with the various women in the film reflects Spain’s relationship with Africa in the South, with the Mediterranean in the East, with the rest of Europe in the North, and with America in the West. But I also want to explain that I love human beings. Even if he’s a man whose ways I despise. he’s still a human being.’
Rather like late Picasso, Luna’s film is earthy. blatantly sexual, but bursting with a kind of horny vigour that’s hard to ignore. A little like its maker too. perhaps. ‘I think that the attitude to sex in this film is very Mediterranean, so I don’t know how British people will take it. It’s dark and ironical at times. but most of all, my intentions are to retransmit life. The need to eat. to dream, to travel. to make love. That is life in all its variety.’ C]
Golden Balls opens at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Friday I and the Edinburgh Filmhouse on Friday 22.
The List 1—14 July 1994 7