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'Torremolinos 73' is the proof that Spanish cinema is nowadays one of
the best in the world, and that Almodovar is not the only one who makes
it deserve this honor. Pablo Berger is the director and this is only
his second film, but the work is of a mature creator, mastering the
subject, with a deep understanding of the time the plot happens, with a
strong hand in directing his actors, while leaving them enough space
The plot happens in 1973, a moment before the fascist dictatorship in Spain fell, and Spain re-joined the family of democratic nations. A not so young couple anticipates in a way the cultural and economic revolution all Spain will go soon, by acting and producing porno movies for the Scandinavian market under the pretext of 'researching reproduction morals in different countries'. The film tells a lot about the process of transition between dictatorship and democracy and its moral risks, about the contrast between tradition and liberal morals, about the relation between pornography and art. All is done in good taste, even the soft core porno scenes are justified for a change. The actors are wonderful, they create empathy with the viewer, and they are credible as characters.
9 out of 10 on my personal scale.
My wife is kinda obsessed with non-American filmography and she insists
on watching every non-American movie on a theater near us. Well, I
can't say I am a fan of Hollyweird myself - on the contrary - but I
like the independents and on occasion I can even rent a blockbuster for
a couple of popcorn hours at home.
So, she dragged me (almost literally) to said theater to watch "a Spanish comedy". She's an avid Almodovar fan (I am not) and so gets pretty much excited over Spanish films.
We went into the theater along with 15 (yes, fifteen) other spectators... not much of an atmosphere, huh? I was not fairly predisposed towards the film, to say the least.
After the two hours have passed, though, I was in love with this little gem! Torremolinos '73 is a very smart film, and has lots to give to any open-minded person, especially if said person has a decent knowledge of Bergman's films.
The first part is extremely funny. Especially the scenes with the couple shooting the ...educating movies, are hilarious. Irony is all over the place, subtle references to Frankist Spain are obvious to those who know what they should look about, but everything serves the purpose to have a good laugh, even if you have to actually think about the film to do so.
The second part is not as funny, but I almost wet myself while the aspiring director Bergman-wannabe shoots a number of scenes with his utterly talent-less wife, imitating every last cadre of a Bergman film! To sum this up: If you are not annoyed by ample nudity (I have to say this since IMDb is also accessed by... ahem... cultures not quite fond of nudity), you like witty (the Spanish way) humor and you are a bit of a Bergman-geek (does such an animal even exist???) you are going to adore Torremolinos '73, as I did.
Probably the best comedy (by far...) I watched this summer.
This Spanish film has recently had a limited UK theatrical release and
has garnered lots of good local reviews. But despite being listed by
the London Evening Standard as a Top Pick, my companion and I saw it in
an otherwise empty cinema! Would the projectionist have gone home had
we not been there, we wondered. No matter, we enjoyed this charming
film, seemingly made by and for film buffs, from start to finish. Its
charm is quite subtle, and I suspect a lot of people might not "get
it". We liked the spot on period detail; the great locations (ever
visited out-of-the way parts of Spain or Italy?), and the specially
faded film colours are an excellent touch. The careful choice of
Spanish pop music of the time adds to the atmosphere. And
interestingly, there are enough knowing movie references to keep Super
8 fans and art-house buffs happy throughout (two examples being of
course the low-budget Bergman remake, and less obviously, the deserted
fairground sequence is pure "Carnival Of Souls").
Sure, the plot line might be a little flawed, and the ending does flag a little, as mentioned in other IMDb user reviews, but I really feel people are being harsh. After all, the whole premise of the film is highly unlikely if you want to pick holes. Definitely recommended.
I found this to be a captivating and entertaining movie - great pains were taken to reproduce that 70's look and feel and it is totally convincing. While seemingly limited in their ambitions, the main characters are nevertheless sympathetic and there are some quirky sidekicks whose characters are fleshed out enough to be entertaining as well - everyone from the landlady, the boss, to the friend who drives. I also found myself seriously enjoying the director's X-rated version of an Ingmar Bergman film over the actual film it self. The woman doesn't have much ambition aside from being "womanly" but it is based on a true incident and hey it was the 70's in Spain.
When I saw the poster of "Torremolinos 73" at my favorite movie
theater, it was clear: I had to see that movie.
I expected 90 minutes of bursting out laughing. Let's say, that wasn't exactly the case.
It sure has its moments of incredible comedy but, surprisingly, also moments of real tragedy and drama. I was quite stunned.
In the end, the story is absolutely original, I wouldn't know about anything similar, the actors all do a great job, the dialog is mostly very nice and all this ends up in a fine little piece of entertainment.
Not perfect, not amazing, but amusing and entertaining? Definitely!
Pablo Berger, the director of "Torremolinos 73", takes us back to the
Spain of the seventies when Franco was still around and where he sets
the scene for this satire about the clandestine porno industry. Mr.
Berger also wrote the screen play, that at times is mildly amusing by
the situation he creates. If you haven't seen the movie, please stop
We first see Alfredo trying to sell books door to door without much success. His boss calls his staff and informs a new revamping in the business. He is going to start a series of experimental films about sex education that will be marketed abroad. The employees are shocked, and only Alfredo and his wife Carmen, and another man, agree to participate. Carmen wants to have children, which seems not to come to her and Alfredo.
Carmen becomes a favorite sight in the Scandinavian countries, and she is even as identified in a department store in Madrid by one of her fans. Since their Scandinavian instructors keep on quoting the great Ingmar Bergman, Alfredo decides to make his own film that parallels "The Seventh Seal". The shooting is in an empty hotel in Torremolinos where Alfredo and his crew are seen filming the movie in the artistic black and white, but suddenly Carlos, the money man, wants a bit of sex in the picture. Alfredo is shocked because since he is not participating, Carmen will have to perform with the leading man! Javier Camera, who was so good in "Talk to Her" plays Alfredo, the book peddler turned porno film director. Candela Peña makes a good suffering Carmen who is lured into the scheme because of necessity. Juan Diego is seen as Alfredo's boss.
The film has a faded look that blends well with the period its trying to reproduce. The film has some funny moments.
Spain, 70. "Alfredo Lopez" (Javier Camera), is married to "Carmen"
(Candela Peña), hairdresser and faithful wife. When it starts to go
wrong his job selling encyclopedias at home, they are presented with
the opportunity to make money doing erotic films in Super 8, which is
exported to Scandinavia in the form of a false encyclopedia about
reproduction in the world. Inspired by true events.
Behind this title hides a story based on real events, with its director Pablo Berger makes her special tribute to cinema, with references to Bergman, the Spanish comedies, even porn. But not only accomplishes that, shows that there are many ways to do comedy without falling into vulgarity.
It is a discrete production, but is saved by a script fresh, intelligent and entertaining, with several very funny scenes. All this is achieved by comedians like Javier Cámara and Candela Peña lesser extent, are the perfect combination to get laughs and tears if they want to.
A very worthy debut that demonstrated how with simple jobs can make a good film.
Ultimately a story well told, with a good script and unpretentious
I think everyone is being a tad harsh on this film, there is no way they could have kept the pace of the first half of the film up it would have been exhausting.Seeing this film in a packed cinema @ cornerhouse certainly helped, seen Candela Pena in two films recently she shines in both.As for the second half of the film & the transition from comedy to drama the laughs didn't dry up they just were a bit more subtle i thought he bergman stuff especially carrying the sithe on the rollercoaster & playing chess on the pedolo was hilarious. An honourable debut for me it looked like the seventies, all brown & beige. The donkey bit was very funny, definitely not subtle.
Spanish Cinema has a fairly different wave and it is pleasant to see
such movies coming from the new directors with different content &
"Torremolinos 73" is an honest movie, as a débutant Pablo Berger has come up with something amusing and solemn.
Set in 1973, an encyclopedia salesman Alfredo who sells it door-by door is not able to meet his ends. He has been given only an alternative by his chief to make adult movies with wife Carmen or leave the company. After some dithering, they reluctantly accept the proposal and it starts the journey of ecstasy & agony.
Using fade colors, it gives a feel of 70's with some good dialogs and funny situations. Javier Cámara is good as a Bergman's admirer (camera Buff), Candela Peña is incredible as a timid person having some desires to fulfill.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Writer/director Pablo Berger's engaging sex comedy has been praised in
some quarters as a Spanish Boogie Nights, but it's altogether a
gentler, more romantic film.
Set in 1973 towards the end of the censorious Franco era, hapless door-to-door encyclopaedia salesman Alfredo (Javier Cámara) is given a blunt choice by his boss accept redundancy or diversify into making 'sex education' home movies with his shy wife Carmen (Candela Peña) for the Danish porn industry.
After some hesitation, the couple set to with a passion and become increasingly bold in staging their fantasies for the camera until Carmen unwittingly becomes something of an international sex symbol and Alfredo gets the chance to fulfil his dream of directing a feature film inspired by his cinematic idol Ingmar Bergman.
The leads weave a potent and convincing chemistry, both as lovers and as a long-married couple, while Berger lightly coaxes humour and an eccentric romance to the fore.
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