Torremolinos 73

Torremolinos 73

****

Reviewed by: George Williamson

Franco's Spain in 1973 was a barren land for encyclopedia salesmen. Alfredo (Javier Camara, from Talk To Her) is three months behind on rent and willing to try almost anything. His boss brings up the prospect of shooting scientific movies for the "Danish World Encyclopedia of Reproduction", exclusively for the Scandinavian market, of course. After hearing about the money involved, Alfredo and Carmen (Candela Pena, from All About My Mother) decide that perhaps they could shoot one or two movies. Before long they've become soft-core stars in Scandinavia and Alfredo decides it's time to shoot his first feature, Torremolinos 73.

Pablo Berger's award-winning film recreates the Seventies in a way that almost seems too authentic, stripped bare of the usual flattering pink fuzz found in films such as Almost Famous and The Virgin Suicides. This is a period piece, seeking to recreate the look and feel of those times, from the low contrast bleached out picture to the synthesizer heaven that is the soundtrack.

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The plot is reminiscent of Pedro Almodovar's earlier work, although definitely more light-hearted, at times almost farcical, memorably during the montage of homebrew Super 8 porn, in which Alfredo and Carmen are observed copulating frantically over all manner of awful Seventies interiors. However, disguised beneath the surface of what might be mistaken for a bawdy Robin Askwith pastiche, we have Carmen's desperation to bear children and Alfredo's desire to become a proper film maker like his hero, Ingmar Bergman.

Altogether, the film works well, like a Spanish version of Boogie Nights, without the horrendous come down, keeping you laughing all the way to an obvious, but no less satisfying, conclusion. It treads a fine line between the serious and the comic and manages, thankfully, to steer away from the many tasteless holes that a movie such as this could fall into. It is funny and clever and definitely worth a visit just to see Alfredo's priceless homage to Bergman.

Reviewed on: 02 Aug 2003
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Comedy in which an encyclopedia salesman and his wife start shooting ‚Äúscientific reproduction‚ÄĚ Super 8 films.
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Director: Pablo Berge

Writer: Pablo Berge

Starring: Javier Camara, Candela Pena, Juan Diego, Fernando Tejero, Mads Mikkelsen, Malena Alterio, Ramon Barea, Nuria Gonzalez, Tina Sainz, Tom Jacobsen

Year: 2003

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Spain

Festivals:

EIFF 2003

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If you like this, try:

Boogie Nights