Monday, July 30, 2012

Torremolinos 73 (2003) ****

         In this outrageously funny and sexy Spanish film by director Pablo Berger, a man and his wife receive an offer they can’t refuse.  Struggling encyclopedia salesman Alfredo Lopez (Javier Camara) and his wife Carmen (Candela Pena) are offered the opportunity to make “educational films” about Spanish sexual practices, to be sold in Scandinavian countries.  On the verge of bankruptcy, they agree, and take to it surprisingly well.  Alfredo discovers a hidden talent for filmmaking, and the formerly demur Carmen becomes quite the wanton under the gaze of the camera.  Their films are a smash, but eventually they are forced to reconcile their new profession with Carmen’s desire to have a child and Alfredo’s desire to make a legitimate film.

Despite this being a foreign film, I’m a bit surprised never to have heard of it.  It is incredibly entertaining.  The balance of humor and graphic sex is perfect, lending an innocence to this very carnal story.  With the 1970’s Franco-era setting, this black and white film is full of bleak grays, but the humor of the movie uplifts it and makes it lighthearted and fun.  Interestingly, the film is apparently loosely based on a true story.  According to writer and director Pablo Berger, the story was inspired by the life of porn/horror director Jesus Franco.   Whatever the truth behind the film, I highly recommend it for those who are into subtitles and nudity.

4 stars out of 5

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