Kika, a cute cosmetologist, prepares Ramon for funeral when he revives. He proposes to the much older Kika who has his dad as lover. Did Ramon's dad murder his mom? What about the escaped rapist and the PSYCHOlogist video reporter?
Kika, a young cosmetologist, is called to the mansion of Nicolas, an American writer to make-up the corpse of his stepson, Ramon. Ramon, who is not dead, is revived by Kika's attentions and she then moves in with him. They might live happily ever after but first they have to cope with Kika's affair with Nicolas, the suspicious death of Ramon's mother and the intrusive gaze of tabloid-TV star and Ramon's ex-psychologist Andrea Scarface.Written by
Erik Gregersen <email@example.com>
London Underground banned the film's poster which featured Victoria Abril in an S&M Jean-Paul Gaultier outfit complete with fake breasts, despite the image being used to promote the film everywhere else around the world. See more »
The german version of this movie has differences with the original spanish text. The most important one is in that scene at the elevator, when Kika is talking with her friends about Nicolas and Ramon. A friend says: "But you tell us that Nicolas eats your pussy very well" and kika answers: "Ramon also eats my pussy very well". In the german version, the friend says: "But you tell us that Nicolas really knows how to treat a woman" and kika answers: "Also Ramon knows how to treat a woman" See more »
When a film begins with a keyhole bordered image of a woman undressing, sufficient precautions should be taken. When Pedro Almodóvar begins a film in such a voyeuristic fashion, everything seems right in the world.
Such is the opening sequence of Almodóvar's 10th full-length feature, Kika. A twisted tale of murder, rape, incest and just about every other adjective describing a vulgar or sinful act, Kika is at times hard to watch but usually even harder to turn away from. But while its tangled web of intertwining characters and story lines is compelling enough not to lose interest, the manner through which it maintains that interest does not prove to be worth the entertainment.
You're probably wondering why I would be driving you away from a film that sounds so engaging. If you are familiar with Almodóvar's work, it will be much easier for you to both grasp and handle this film. If you are not familiar with Almodóvar's work, this is not the place to start. If you have heard of Almodóvar's reputation but have never seen his films, this is not the place to start. In any other remotely similar situation, this is not the place to start.
I am only so relentless because Almodóvar is one of the greatest Spanish filmmakers of our time. He has a stunning catalog of films and is somewhat of a hero of the art's counter-culture. With a reputation for pushing the limits, Almodóvar is usually successful in delivering even the most perverse films in a tasteful manner.
That is where Kika fails: It is full of content but lacking delivery. If the film took itself seriously there would be much more to work with. But with the direction it chose, trying to be a dark (pitch dark) comedy, the subject matter is too tasteless to work.
To prove my point, let's do a little role playing. I will be the enthusiastic screenwriter pitching my story to you, the money-hungry studio executive half-heartedly listening to my idea for the next screwball comedy:
OK, so Ramón is a young man whose mother commits suicide for reasons that may or may not point to her unhappy marriage with Ramón's stepfather, Nicholas. Three years later, the stepfather and son move in together. One day while Ramón is presumed dead, a young woman named Kika is sent to apply makeup to his corpse, only to witness his miraculous revival. Kika and Ramón soon begin dating and she moves in with him. Eventually, Kika decides to make it a family affair by secretly having sex with Nicholas, Ramón's womanizing stepfather.
This is when it gets good.
The witness to everything is Ramón's lesbian housemaid, Juana. She has an insane brother who, as an adolescent, had sex with all sorts of animals but then moved on to raping the neighborhood girls. Being the great sister that she is, she started having sex with him so that he could "let off some steam" instead of pursuing his new hobby. His destructive path soon leads him to jail.
This is when it really gets good.
Years later, Juana's brother escapes from prison and tracks her down to the apartment at which she works. The fugitive plans to pilfer a few cameras from the apartment until he discovers the sleeping Kika. Against his sister's pleas, he rapes Kika for what seems like hours. The rape is called in by a peeping-tom across the street and an investigation ensues to find out who was involved, or rather who wasn't involved.
Sound funny? I didn't think so. And with such despicable characters, it is nearly impossible to find anyone, or anything, to laugh at. The most frustrating part about the film is that Almodóvar could have made this into a powerful drama, as he did with Talk to Her and Bad Education. All the elements are there, it's just in the completely wrong genre. It's like trying to turn Schindler's List into a sitcom.
But turning Kika into a drama would involve a few changes, especially Verónica Forqué as Kika. She is completely over-the-top and not once convincing. She adds nothing to her part and is especially painful to watch during her emotionless and even smart alecky rape.
The rape scene itself is the film's biggest red flag. No matter how hard you try, even if you are Pedro Almodóvar, making comedy out of such an emotionally charged issue as rape will prove improbable if not impossible.
With that said, Kika is a blow to Almodóvar fans who find themselves defending his films as artistic not licentious. Instead of an earnest film by a standout director, we are given an indecent soap opera with questionable direction. But we'll forgive you Pedro, nobody's perfect.
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