In Vera Cruz in the 1940s, Nacho, an Indian, waits tables at Don Lázaro’s café at Hotel Ofélia. He falls for Lola, an opium-addicted, alcoholic whore who’s hopelessly in love with Gardenia Wilson, a masked wrestler who slept with her once but knows she’s unbalanced. Don Lázaro warns Nacho about Lola, and Nacho knows his love will be unrequited, but he’ll do anything, regardless of how degrading, to be near her. Lola, for her part, can be sadistic. Republican exiles who are regulars at the café encourage Lola’s desire to assassinate Franco. Nacho in turn mixes this political mirage with his fascination with the plot of “The Mikado.” Where do fantasies and obsessions lead?
Tag Archives: Spain
Cet obscur objet du désir / That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) Luis Buñuel, Fernando Rey, Carole Bouquet, Ángela Molina, Comedy, Drama
Just after boarding a train, much to the surprise of his fellow passengers, a man pours a bucket of water over a young girl on the platform. Over the next few hours he explains (and we see in flashback) how he became obsessed by her (so much so that he failed to notice that she was played by two different actresses, representing different sides of her personality), and how she tantalised him, but would never allow him to satisfy his desire for her…
An American of German descent arrives in post-war Germany 1945. His uncle gets him a job on the Zentropa train line as a sleeping car conductor. The American’s wish is to be neutral to the ongoing purges of loyalists by the Allied forces and do what he can to help a hurting country, but he finds himself being used by both the Americans and the influential family that owns the railroad. After falling in love with the railroad magnate’s daughter, he finds that he can’t remain neutral and must make some difficult choices.
Últimas imágenes del naufragio / Last Images of the Shipwreck (1989) Eliseo Subiela, Lorenzo Quinteros, Noemí Frenkel, Hugo Soto, Drama
The director of the enigmatic, entirely memorable feature Man Facing Southeast confronts viewers with another exhuberantly metaphysical movie in Ultimas Imagenes del Naufragio. In the story, Roberto (Lorenzo Quinteras) is a man whose inner life has gone dead. He has no interest in his job (selling life insurance) or his family. About the only thing that interests him is his writing, but he currently has writer’s block. When he sees a lovely young woman on the verge of throwing herself in front of a train, he can’t help himself: he has to stop her. It turns out that the woman, Estela (Noemi Frenkel), is only slightly addled: she is a prostitute who uses this rather dramatic technique to pick up men. Interested in her as a character for his novel, he accompanies her home.
Marisa, la civetta / Marisa (1957) Mauro Bolognini, Marisa Allasio, Renato Salvatori, Francisco Rabal, Comedy
Marisa is young, beautiful Marisa, Marisa dress provocatively, Marisa is an orphan and sells ice cream station, Marisa has many admirers and aspiring boyfriends: Luigi, Luccicotto, the station master, and finally Angelo, handsome sailor. But things are different with the latter; Marisa feels something that he has never heard before, maybe love. But Angelo sees her flirting, and flirting, and flirting … You fix up things?
Cabeza de Vaca (1991) Nicolás Echevarría, Juan Diego, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Roberto Sosa, Adventure, Drama, History
An international award winning saga of old Mexico. In 1528, a Spanish expedition founders off the coast of Florida with 600 lives lost. One survivor, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, roams across the American continent searching for his Spanish comrades. Instead, he discovers the Iguase, an ancient Indian tribe. Over the next eight years, Cabeza de Vaca learns their mystical and mysterious culture, becoming a healer and a leader. But soon this New World collides with the Old World as Spanish conquistadors seek to enslave the Indians, and Cabeza de Vaca must confront his own people and his past.
Juggernaut (1974) Richard Lester, Richard Harris, Omar Sharif, David Hemmings, Action, Drama, Thriller
Some unknown maniac is threatening a navigation company to blow up one of its luxury transatlantics, the “Britannic”, now in high sea with 1200 passengers. He is asking for a £500,000 ransom, otherwise the 7 bombs aboard will explode. An experienced anti-bomb squad is sent to the “Britannic”, but although all the bombs are located, a very high skill level will be necessary to dismantle them. Perhaps that task is impossible…
This is a biographical film on the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali. Young Dali, already famous in Europe, arrives in New York in the 1940s because that’s where the money is, and the war isn’t. He and his companion Gala begin meeting with an American reporter for interviews, and in the process tell the story of Dali’s life and early career. The ensuing flashbacks portray some famous artists that he met, worked with, and had conflicts with, for example Pablo Picasso, Garcia-Lorca, Luis Bunuel, or Jean Cocteau. The premier of Dali and Bunuel’s groundbreaking 1929 surrealist film `Un chien andalou’ is briefly depicted, showing snippets of the actual film and the audience’s mixture of amazement and disgust at it. There is some recreation of surreal imagery from Dali’s work, in the form of dream sequences or the distorted imaginings of Dali’s fertile mind. The famous image of the `limp watches’ from one of his best-known paintings appears as a sculpture in an imagined scene of Spanish Civil War refugees, the watches actually hanging from the trees and flapping in the wind. More sculpturally-rendered images from his paintings are in this scene as well. Other surrealist touches include some very odd costumes, and a scary, bizarre dream sequence at the start of the film. There is a fair amount of nudity in this film, none of which one would consider gratuitous, but consistent with the bohemian lifestyles and surreal visions that are its subject.
Black Emanuelle / Emanuelle nera (1975) Bitto Albertini, Laura Gemser, Karin Schubert, Angelo Infanti, Drama, Erotic
In her first onscreen adventure, journalist/photographer Mae Jordan (known to her readers as “Emanuelle”) travels to Africa on assignment. Questions of her own racial and sexual identity come to a head as she observes the troubled marriage of her hosts, Ann and Gianni Danieli. Matters are complicated further when Emanuelle finds herself in affairs with both of them, after which she flees Africa, only to be persued by Gianni, who had earlier rejected her and ridiculed her advances.
La virgen de los sicarios / Our Lady of the Assassins (2000) Barbet Schroeder, Germán Jaramillo, Anderson Ballesteros, Juan David Restrepo, Crime, Drama, Romance
The tempestuous love story between Fernando, an older man who has recently returned to his crime-ridden drug capitol hometown of Medellin, Colombia and the gun-happy 16-year-old assassin Alexis, who murders all too easily. When Alexis himself is fatally gunned down, grief-stricken Fernando hunts for his young lover’s killer in the Medellin slums, but instead encounters Wilmar, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Alexis.