on 13 March 2008
Pablo Berger's debut feature film, Torremolinos 73, is something of a curiosity, combining Spanish with Scandinavian sensibilities. Set in Franco's Spain of the early `70s, the plot revolves around an unexceptional couple Alfredo (Javier Camara, Talk to Her (Hable con Ella)) and Carmen Lopez (Candela Pena, All About My Mother). Alfredo is an door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, but isn't selling much of anything. Since he is paid on commission, he is behind on his bills and can't afford the child that his wife Carmen wants so desperately. When he is summoned to the boss's office, he fears the worst, but instead is invited with his wife to the company's first off-site conference. The theme of the conference is something of a shock. The boss is collaborating with a Danish company which is publishing a video encyclopedia of the mating habits of the world. The initial volumes have been huge sellers. Alfredo's boss gives his few remaining salesmen a choice: they can become unemployed, or they can film themselves having sex with their wives for the Spanish volume of the encyclopedia. Since there is a large cash payment for each completed film, plus commissions on sales, they go for it.
Carmen is very shy at first, but gradually warms to performing for the camera, and Alfredo becomes hooked on directing. When Carmen is accosted by a Danish tourist with a camera in a department store, the couple learns that she has become a famous porn star in Denmark. Alfredo then begins to fancy himself a real filmmaker, but not of porn loops. He hopes to emulate his idol, Ingmar Bergman. He writes a script which is essentially a remake of The Seventh Seal - Criterion Collection, re-located to the resort town of Torremolinos. Fortunately, Alfredo's boss also has the movie bug, and decides to produce the film with Alfredo directing and Carmen as the lead. Carmen is less enthusiastic about her new fame. She still wants to have that baby, and she now has the money, but Alfredo turns out to have defective sperm.
The movie production goes reasonably well until the boss rewrites the ending to have Carmen do a sex scene with her young attractive costar.
When Berger was asked why he chose to write this kind of film for his debut, he answered with a smile, "I am a film buff. Also, I like pornography, and I like the '70s. So the answer was clear to me." It's a wonderful premise, and is nothing short of brilliant for the first two acts. Act three, the actual movie within a movie, isn't nearly as entertaining as the first two thirds of the film, but overall it was a great idea written with real wit and executed beautifully by two great leads supported by an all-star cast.
on 2 January 2007
The basic plot is that an encyclopedia salesman in Franco's Spain looks like he is losing his job, the company is losing business, they have a meeting where they put it to the few employees left that they could make adult education films purely for foreign export namely Scandanavia.
As they are low on funds they throw themselves whole heartedly into the project, as a consequence the encyclopedia salesmans wife becomes a famous porn actor abroad but unknown in her natice Spain. All she really wants is a baby.
Her husband gets some heirs and graces and wants to direct films like Bergman, they collaborate with Danish money to make a film the forementioned Torremolinos 73.
This film has both drama and comedy the cast is a strong one, Candela Pena in particular is very good. I would recommend this film as well as Spanish Cinema in general.
The extras are good on this DVD with behind the scenes interviews with cast and director.
on 5 August 2013
I have seen all Almodovar and always on look out for any quirky Spanish comedy ; love their surreal and then black black humour . This didn't disappoint ; familiar Almodovar actors Javier Camara and Candela Pena are struggling in Francos spain . She wants a baby , he needs to make a career for himself . Suddenly their is chance to make a porn film for Denmark . Brilliant ; so silly and funny . She becomes sexually empowered and he wants to make films like Bergman ! Also near the end you get chance to see a very young mads Mikelsen as one of the porn stars ! What could be more entertaining than this ! Ha ha !