I’m in love with Latino culture! I may be guilty of gross generalization, but what the hell: the food’s spicy, the booze is the strongest, the woman are hot, and the men… Full of testosterone-fueled machismo, they emit the aroma of ‘bravada’ and remind me where my G-spot’s located! So, if you watch a movie from a Latino country and you don’t mind subtitles, you just might be in for a thrill-a-minute ride of wild sex, violence, colorful décor, and sexy actors. And if the script and director/producer are a little loco: ay caramba!! It’s gonna be one el sinematico experience!!
The filmmakers who I feel capture contemporary Latino culture at its best include Bigas Luna (‘Jamón, jamón’), Alejandro González Iñárritu (‘Amores perros’), Robert Rodriguez (‘El Mariachi’), Alfonso Cuarón (‘Y Tu Mamá También’), Jaume Balagueró (‘REC’), Miguel Martí (‘Sexykiller, morirás por ella’) and Álex de la Iglesia (‘Acción mutante’). But the one I want to focus on today is this Spanish fellow.
Pedro Almodóvar’s vision is highly original, and his narrative and filming styles are extremely distinctive and entertaining. His movies are like a potent mixture of Rainer Werner Fassbinder (‘Satan’s Brew’), Douglas Sirk (‘Imitation of Life’), and Joseph Losey (‘Boom!’) with a dash of John Waters (‘Desperate Living’) thrown into the shaker. After you pour that cuckoo cocktail into your glass and drink it up, you get the unforgettable taste of over-the-top transvestites, bondage sex, impossible bisexual love triangles, topsy-turvy tales of betrayal, and uncontrollable histrionic woman wreaking havoc! Not to mention Almadóvar’s delirious sense of humor. I love his art and it’s hard for me to understand how someone couldn’t really get into his mad, mad, mad world of sweet sickness. For me, it’s simply a pure pleasure for my gray matter.
I certainly wanted to write and illustrate a story about Pedro Almodóvar for my book, Sinemania! After doing some research on him, rather than drawing a biographical tale on the director, I came up with the idea of doing a ‘fumetti’ (or photo-novella) depicting his unique sensibility, while adding my own moralistic take on the superficiality of the media’s obsession with celebrity and the bizarre shallow values of today’s society.
Why a fummeti? Well, it just made sense to me. You see, when Pedro was a young lad, he was a creator of fumettis. Plus, not understanding the beautiful Spanish language, I have to look at his movies while reading subtitles. (There’s no way I’m gonna see them dubbed!) And so, I figured that my story on Almodóvar should also have subtitles in order to capture the feeling of watching one of his movies.
But, alas, as I discovered to my dismay, copyright law is a bitch!! It would have been far too much of a hassle and an expense to include my fumetti in the book. No big loss, though, since I’m now throwing it onto this blog for you to enjoy at no cost!
Well, I hope you got a kick out of that fumetti! For my next post, I’ll get into another Spanish filmmaker, this time from an earlier and much less superficial era. I’ll leave you guessing as to whom that might be, but here are a couple of hints: this hombre was instrumental in putting the sin into cinema with the irreverent sacrilegious movies he made. His favorite hobby - besides drinking martinis in the morning - was pissing off the Pope. So brace yourself for another itchy Iberian iconoclast!