Who is in it?
It’s somewhat a “who’s who?” of Spanish cinema – Cecilia Roth (Almodóvar regular – most famously for Todo Sobre Mi Madre), impressive and flamboyant performances by Javier Camara (Hable con Ella), Raúl Arévalo (Primos) and Carlos Areces (Balada Triste de Trompeta) along with Antonio de la Torre, Lola Dueñas and Paz Vega.
And cameos from – Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz and the now habitual “bit appearance” from Augustín Almodóvar
What is it about?
At first glance, the film is a return to early Almodóvar sex-romp comedies of the 1980s. Business class passengers on a flight to Mexico City are fed cocktails of drink and drugs in an attempt by the very camp cabin crew, to divert attention from the plane’s technical problems. What results is an outrageous sex orgy which takes place whilst the economy passengers are sleeping – not due to the smoothness of the flight but because they have been sedated by the cabin crew! On a more serious note, the film is a political satire and the plane is a metaphor for stricken Spain, with no certain direction and almost certainly heading for disaster. Almodóvar pokes fun at the vanity of Spanish politicians by setting part of the film in one of the many “ghost airports” which currently lay empty in Spain.
Why did I want to watch it?
Why wouldn’t I? It’s an Almodóvar! This is the man this blog was named after! I was particularly looking forward to a return to his most characteristic genre following darker films (Hable con Ella and La Piel que Habito). I was also looking forward to the vast array of Spanish acting talent cast in the film.
Did I like it?
I did like it, of course I liked it. Some of the performances were very solid – namely that of Camara, Arévalo and Areces. There were laughs, shocks and it was entertaining. However, I did feel that the plot was weak in parts and some of the humour was lost in translation. Some audiences may not fully understand the political undercurrent of the film which is regrettable as I would argue that the film works better on this level than the comedic one. There were also some random parts which left me wondering why they had been included – Paz Vega’s character? – which was a shame, as I love her!
Should you watch it?
If you are an Almodóvar fan, you’ll love it regardless and you will most likely have seen it already – if you aren’t, it probably isn’t the best introduction to his work.
Other films it reminds me of:
It is a return to the wackiness of Women Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios. There were nods towards the 1980 film Airplane!, which is no bad thing as this is a classic.
Watch this instead/as well/before/after:
As well as any of Almodóvar’s back catalogue, there are some great films starring the actors who stole the show in this one! Balada Triste de Trompeta, Primos, El Gran Vázquez, Gordos, Azuloscurocasinegro.