How to Watch and Think about Alejandro Jodorowsky

Is it time, or will there ever be a time, to reevaluate Alejandro Jodorowsky? The appearance of his new film, The Dance of Reality, along with the doc Jodorowsky’s Dune, is spurring a rash of Jodo appreciations and reconsiderations (including, in all places, the Miami Beach Cinematheque, where I’m hosting a Jodo talk in June), and since at 84 the notorious charlatan has probably ejaculated his final mytho-anima warhead at us, the least we can do is attempt to account for his presence, and his perennial appeal. A unique cultural figure for almost a half-century, always dancing on the psychotropic fringes of cinema culture, Jodorowsky has never garnered a serious reputation as a filmmaker, but he’s never compromised his unmistakable arsenal of manias, either, and he’s never completely disappeared from view (despite distribution extinctions and industry skullduggery that would’ve buried someone less obsessive).

His remarkable career as a counter-culture provocateur and midnight-movie legend need not be revisited now, and neither, I think, do we need to shred his seven movies all over again for their very politically incorrect outrages, from strangely guileless exploitation of the handicapped to pure mucho-macho misogyny to the blithe butchering of hundreds of Mexican animals. (The rabbits alone…) Jodorowsky stands no chance of ever satisfying contemporary cultural norms in any broad sense, which is probably why those who love him love him dearly. He is a professional apostate, and has been from his first Panic Movement days. That has always been part of the problem – once you outgrow the need to shock your own mother, and break social taboos simply for the adolescent thrill of doing so, you naturally look upon those emotional strategies as being unsophisticated and juvenile. Which is a way of saying that I remember conceiving and outlining film and theater projects as a young teenage basketcase that were quite Jodorowsky-esque in nature. I recall them now as fondly as I recall the epic acne that mutilated my face.

Nothing can spell death for an artist quicker than having his work remind critics of ideas they themselves entertained as snot-nosed pre-adults. But perhaps this is also Jodorowsky’s grace note: He’s been the one cinematic voice who’s dared to retain what William Blake called “the auguries of innocence” – albeit spiked with freakshow giggles and buckets of cows’ blood. Is there no room in film culture for one unapologetic, megalo-mythic Ever-Teen? Formally, Jodorowsky’s films have always been stodgily assembled and sleepily paced, like pagan temple tableaux of limbless dwarfs, circus big tops, and baby hippos. But could their lack of narrative fluidity not also be a patience-demanding syntactical choice meant to ritualistically frame the movies’ totemic materials? Is Jodorowsky unable to make a dramatic narrative, or has he chosen instead to make films, like Kenneth Anger, that stand as mythopoetic objects in and of themselves?

Looking El Topo (1970), The Holy Mountain (1973), and Santa Sange (1989) this way doesn’t make them easier to watch, but it does reveal in their litanies of lumbering, Gomorrahic imagery an authorial strategy. You can see what he’s trying to do, even if it rankles you. But if that’s too rich for your blood, there’s still plenty of Jodorowsky set-pieces to reckon with, of a kind that moviemakers just don’t seem to have the walnuts to attempt anymore: just reconsider the section of The Holy Mountain depicting Conquest of Mexico as a public carnival show using live frogs and lizards (in costume), miniature pyramids, and very real explosives. That film proceeds through a lacerating takedown of Euro-Christian colonialism, ending up in a forest of ten thousand life-size plaster Jesuses and on the street, where the dynamic of occupying army vs. native peoples is played out as grotesque pantomine, under a platoon of crucified animal carcasses.

From there The Holy Mountain simply goes groggily, wearily bonkers, leaving the political symbology behind, but Jodorowsky has always been, amid his self-aggrandizing messiah scenarios and gratuitous everything, good for the occasional juggernaut movie moment. You may not treasure the full experience of Santa Sangre, say, but you remember the elephant’s funeral march. Even so, Jodorowsky’s world is all of a piece, and it has always seemed to me to be a hellish place to visit, a nightmare vision of Mexico (and by extension all of the Third World) as a post-civilized wasteland of cripples, corpses, fruitless rituals, and primal ruin.

As his films became more magical-realist and less apocalyptic (this includes 1980’s Tusk, an ostensible children’s film made in India that begins with one of its era’s most spectacular traveling shots), Jodorowsky’s imaginary landscape still retained a creepy After-the-Fall feeling, poisoned by human decadence and waiting to be swallowed by the abyss. I’m pretty sure this was not the filmmaker’s intention – Jodorowsky has always been on a mission to create new myths, and expand his audiences’ consciousness, and imagine new Christs and Buddhas, and save modern society from itself. He cast himself as a shaman time and again, and that’s what he wanted his film work to be, too – a path to enlightenment, to be employed alongside dope and Tantric sex and meditation and crazy costumes. But instead his films, including The Dance of Reality, are dreams of a world gone terribly wrong. El Topo remains famous as a stoner mind-fuck party movie, but it’s actually incredibly grim and disquieting; The Holy Mountain may be the most unpleasant movie ever made about salvation. Decades from now, that may be how Jodorowsky’s career is remembered – as one long, drunken, nauseating Day of the Dead parade.



Today, Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal are two of the most accomplished actors, directors, producers who infiltrated American cinema in the early ’00s in a wave of thespians and filmmakers from Mexico. However, back in 2001, when Y Tu Mamá También was released, these two young men were up-and-coming indie actors with a certain gleam in their eye, and we just knew they’d hit it big. The film, about two best friends on a road trip to a mysterious beach with a Spanish beauty who’s hiding a secret, went on to win a slew of awards, and became a classic coming-of-age film. Tonight, Nitehawk reminds us why we fell in love with Luna and Bernal in the first place — as if we could ever forget.

Wed., May 21, 7:15 p.m., 2014


Mission Cantina Hits the Sweet Spot for Mexico City-Style Tacos

In Mexico City, there are women who spend their lifetimes making tacos. On street corners, in neighborhood markets, in makeshift kitchens, this is where the perfect, platonic ideals of tacos can be found. We romanticize these bites, dismayed that something so simple as a tortilla wrapped around a tablespoon of filling is so hard to find in New York City. But the taco’s simplicity belies its subtle complexities. Mexican cuisine is as technically difficult as any other, and understanding every element, from the patina of the comal (pan) to the wavering heat of the chiles to the flattening of the masa — by hand, press, or machine — takes dedication. A lifetime is sometimes still not enough.

Fortunately, our city is giving Mexico its due. As the global North becomes attuned to the culinary pleasures of the South, the humble trinity of corn, peppers, and beans is infatuating chefs, food media, and eaters alike. We are host to a slew of new taquerias. Shiny mechanical tortilla presses have supplanted the Berkel meat slicer as the must-have tool. And the young restaurateur Danny Bowien, a bicoastal Korean-born, Oklahoma-raised chef blasted into fame for cooking cheap Chinese food, is the newest ambassador of the trend.

At his Mission Cantina on the Lower East Side, Bowien and his crew, helmed by chef Zach Swemle, deserve credit for adapting the arduous process of nixtamalization, from-scratch corn tortilla production, to a busy Manhattan restaurant. The expensive, two-day task demands a fulltime tortilla-maker on the payroll and involves soaking dried corn kernels from Anson Mills overnight in a water — calcium hydroxide solution that releases the hulls from the kernels. The husk is rinsed away and the corn is boiled, ground into meal, fashioned into dough, and passed through a Lenin tortilla press, which sits in an open window into the kitchen and is as mesmerizing to watch as a lava lamp.

The corn masa disks go from raw to cooked and directly into the cook’s hand, where they form the base for the dozen or so tacos ($5.50 for two) on the menu. And that transformation — a tortilla hot off the press with the arresting aroma of freshly cooked corn — makes up for the chore. The smell and flavor of the tortillas are consummate, though the texture is inconsistent, sometimes mealy and undercooked. But when the kitchen hits the sweet spot, they are some of the best tortillas in town, model platforms for Distrito Federal–style stews known as guisados, such as rabbit braised in a coffee and hibiscus mole, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and drizzled with crema; stewed pork cheek with pickled peppers and a bright cabbage slaw; and shreds of slow-cooked lamb spiked with cumin and smoked prune.

Also in the Mexico City tradition are tacos filled with vegetables, superb touchstones in a cuisine too often misconceived as lard-, cheese-, and cream-laden. The bright green broccoli rabe tacos with kernels of corn, the pumpkin mole crowned with toasted pepitas, and mushroom tacos topped with chicharron de queso — a crisp made of toasted cheese — are as intriguing as the meat options.

The taco fillings shift, as do the appetizers of salads, ceviche, and vegetable plates. The chicken wings ($11), deep-fried, coated with dried mole spices, splashed with chile vinegar, crema, and cotija cheese, ape the similar brash flavors found in the Mission Chinese version of the dish but less successfully so. Nevertheless, they are on every table.

A bricolage of Southern and Asian touches is cleverly interwoven throughout the menu: The guacamole ($9) comes with puffy shrimp chips and shards of chicharron; tostadas ($7) are spread with white beans and topped with seared chicken livers and julienned cabbage; and the cebollitas preparadas ($8), grilled spring onions, sweet and citrusy, are blackened with char and nori in a buttery, tangled heap. Order them.

The large-format dishes that have featured lamb ribs, roasted trout, and whole chickens are true feasts. That chicken ($32.50) spends an hour revolving on a rotisserie and is then broken down, grilled, and mounted on rice, nubbins of chorizo, raisins, and pecans slick with melted chicken fat and splashed with vinegar. Flanked by tortillas, two salsas, and crema, it is the definition of a crowd pleaser.

Somewhat surprisingly, most dishes are devoid of any actual heat. Mexican food does not need to be spicy, but eschewing the searing possibilities that were flaunted in the extreme at Mission Chinese is a handicap. Bowien may be more adept with Chinese ingredients, but there are delicious meals to be had here. Fluency only comes with practice and repetition. Mission Cantina is well on its way.


Las Cafeteras+Chicha Libre

Named after the coffee machines that fueled their East Los Angeles beginnings, this seven-piece band updates and politicizes the son jarocho tradition of Veracruz, Mexico. Their version of “La Bamba Rebelde” is a rebel call to a world without borders and “Trabajador Trabajadora” celebrates immigrant worker dignity with a rapping history lesson. Chicha Libre, of course, deliver a brilliant Franco-Brooklyn take on Peru’s psychedelic cumbia amazonica. With DJ Sultan Balkanero.

Thu., Feb. 20, 8 p.m., 2014


The Sharp, Funny Coyote Tells a Personal Immigration Story

A lot of commentators try to present immigration as a dry, conceptual matter about sovereignty and legal matters, but the issue’s human face makes it way too adaptable to storytelling. That’s what’s killing anti-immigration activism in public polling — people like good stories too goddamn much.

The sharp, funny Coyote documents the narratives of two people disconnected from the realities of cross-border politics. One is a federal inspector meeting U.S. border agents for the first time. The other is Brian (Robert J. Steinmiller Jr.), a 30-year-old living at home with his mom and sister who gets fired from his job as a teacher of a food handling and management course.

Nothing says “social misfit” like a shot of a skinny, shirtless dude working out with fitness bands, but writer-director Joe Eddy’s most impressive magic trick is to present characters who seem at first to be flat, hilarious caricatures and then endow them with unexpected depth.

When Brian’s burnout uncle hires him for a construction job, he meets Manuel, an undocumented immigrant played soulfully by Carlos Pratts. The coyote who brought Manuel across the border is holding his mother and sister captive until Manuel pays him. Brian concocts a dangerous scheme to recover them, and the two travel to Mexico.

The narrative hinges at every turn on moments of human connection, scary confrontations other films would resolve with violence finding unexpected (and probably unlikely) detours into humor and empathy.

An apparent conceit of Eddy’s, the point isn’t to illustrate the hard realities of poverty and immigration (although that’s part of the agenda); it’s to emphasize with other people’s pain.


Narco Cultura Provides a Sobering Look at Mexico’s Drug Culture

The breadth of director Shaul Schwarz’s documentary Narco Cultura is staggering.

A hybrid of hard investigative journalism and incisive cultural criticism, the film at its core is about definitions of success and power, and how today those terms are shaped by the shared forces of poverty and celebrity culture.

Schwarz and his crew dot back and forth across the United States and Mexico to show how Mexico’s war on drugs (fueled by both artillery easily scored in the U.S., and our insatiable appetite for drugs) has all but decimated the once thriving city of Juárez, turning it into the murder capital of the world.

Graphic crime scene photos and videos illustrate the bloody reality, as everyone from ordinary citizens and beleaguered CSI workers (targets for assassination by cartels) to tatted inmates speak about the toll. It’s harrowing stuff. At the same time, the entertainment subculture of narcocorridos (songs about and commissioned by Mexican drug runners, a sort of hybrid of gangsta rap, romanticized reportage, and Old English ballads) have exploded in popularity in both countries, creating superstars who sell out arenas to fans who lustily sing along.

Schwarz’s juxtaposition of the human cost of the drug war alongside the glamorization of its henchmen and their brutality is sobering, even depressing, a point driven home by journalist Sandra Rodriguez, who says that the popularity of narcocorridos is “a symptom of how defeated we are as a society.”

See also: The Melody of the Mexican Drug War



Mexico’s Molotov saw the impending apocalypse of late ’90s rap-metal without fear simply because they knew the diversity of their music would save them. How else could they sing so cheerfully that “El mundo se va a acabar” on 1999’s aptly-titled Apocalypshit? They always matched their American peers’ macho juvenilia, but Molotov transcended their purported genre with a sound that took cues from El General’s proto-reggaetón, the groovy Latin Rock of Maná, and Mano Negra’s multilingual musical mélange as much as from the Beasties, Rage, the Chili Peppers, and Mr. Bungle. No other rap-rock band could write songs as groovily anthemic as “Voto Latino,” “Gimme tha Power,” or “Frijolero.” For this reason, Molotov endures.

Tue., Aug. 27, 7 p.m., 2013


The Cold Comfort of Chilled Soups

We’re entering the hottest leg of the summer, a time when you’re most likely to see the hottest legs of the summer. And between the heat and the calves, you’re going to need to cool off, you pervert. To that effect, chilled soups work double duty, providing respite from the heat while filling you up, and they’re usually a great way to highlight the bounty of summer produce. Lucky for cold soup fetishists, restaurants both trendy and traditional are getting creative, serving up some noteworthy bowls of refreshment.

One such arbiter of cool is ABV, where chef Corey Cova’s perennial chilled spicy tomato soup takes the slightest trip down Mexico way this season. Gone is the garnish of smoked ricotta, replaced with a tumble of chives and a crumble of mild cotija cheese. The soup itself remains mostly the same: nutty, charred edamame bobbing in a purée of fire-roasted heirlooms, San Marzanos, roasted red peppers, ginger, garlic, horseradish oil, chile flakes, and sriracha. To balance all that spice, Cova pours in a smooth potato soup, making this one of the more sophisticated two-for-one specials we’ve come across.

To cool down like a Russian grandma after a day selling knishes in the street, head to the Ocean View Cafe in Brighton Beach for excellent red and green cold borschts; the beet-rich version brings tang and earthiness, while the green variety gets its name thanks to either spinach or sorrel, depending on what the cooks can get their hands on. For a chilled soup that’s a meal unto itself, it’s hard to beat the cafe’s okroshka, a hearty vegetable soup loaded with sour cream, parsley, and chunks of veal. The broth gets an extra-sour kick from kvass, the fermented Eastern and Central European beverage made from dark or light rye bread.

Meanwhile, in Bed-Stuy, chef Justin Warner gives cucumbers a whirl in the blender at Do or Dine. Accented with tender, vanilla-cured scallop ceviche and chive crème fraîche, the balance of sweet, cool, creamy, and sharp exemplifies the best of the genre, packaged in that signature plucky style that has earned Warner praise, accolades, and a place at the Food Network table. On a menu that favors puns for dish names, the straightforward label of “cucumber soup” belies the complexity at work—aromatic and sweet shellfish paired with the freshness of cucumber juice. Another deeply layered and fancy soup comes courtesy of Jeffrey’s Grocery. Poured tableside, the shallow bowl arrives bearing nuggets of poached shrimp and dill fronds scattered around a creamy spring garlic custard. The heftier elements take a bath in a silky, rich potato-leek purée. The way the dish sits in the bowl, it reads halfway between a soup and a proper appetizer. Whatever menu genus it falls under, tempering the brashness of spring garlic in a custard accentuates the silkiness of the soup, while the shrimp provide texture and sweet brine.

Should you find yourself schvitzing in Koreatown, pop into Don’s Bogam BBQ for a bowl of icy-cold naengmyeon. Slicks of fat on the surface of the bracing, chilled beef broth make a tangle of chewy arrowroot noodles glisten. The nearly black noodles are topped with Asian pear and a hardboiled egg that adds further chew to the dish. There’s even more Brooklyn flavor in the demeanor of the folks running the counter at No. 7 Sub inside the Plaza Food Hall, which lends cred to what is essentially a food court for the rich. In keeping with the menu of wacky sandwich combinations (short ribs and grape jelly), the kiosk features a chilled pea soup packed with roasted onions, ham, and pickled blueberries. The astringent fruit pops with a pleasant sourness.

Residents of Carroll Gardens are most likely already familiar with Buttermilk Channel’s deft hand with market vegetables, but this summer’s special of white asparagus soup hiding a jumble of shaved asparagus is one of the more fun exercises in dishes that feature multiple tastes of the same ingredient. The slivers of green asparagus stand out against the mellow nuttiness of the white variety, and the whole bowl gets a dusting of toasted almonds. A few neighborhoods away, at Dear Bushwick, chef Jessica Wilson teases big flavor out of peppery watercress, pairing the slender, crunchy stalks with ginger. With such aggressive ingredients, a dollop of crème fraîche provides a welcome dose of pervasive, mellowing dairy fat.

With nourishment and refreshment sharing the stage, chilled soups are as near-perfect a summer dish as any. Better to skip that fourth iced latte (you know, the one that makes your eye twitch) and opt for some thirst-quenching broth instead.


The Illegal Underground Economy Behind Churros

It’s just shy of 7 a.m. on a muggy Friday. In a bakery in Spanish Harlem, Julio, who declined to give his last name, is scrubbing a deep fryer, his hands slimy with black grease. “I can’t work like this,” he tells me in Spanish. He just returned to his rented kitchen after two days away; his landlord loaned the space to another baker, who made a mess of the place.

Julio is from Mexico City but has lived in New York for a decade. On an average day, he makes 2,000 to 3,000 churros and sells them to vendors who cart them off for resale on subway platforms around the city. He’s been at it for 18 years, first in Mexico, now here. Churros, for the unacquainted, are long, ridged, golden-fried pastries caked in granulated sugar.

Two days earlier, Ernesto (not his real name), who entered the U.S. illegally from Riobamba, Ecuador, is selling Julio’s treats at the Myrtle-Wyckoff L stop. A young man approaches. “Two for $1!” Ernesto says cheerily in accented English. The man opts in, and Ernesto is $1 richer. At the going rate, churros are the cheapest pastries around—a far cry from the $50 black-market cronuts on Spring Street. If he sells his daily quota of 300, Ernesto will take home $80 for a 12-hour day. He does this seven days a week.

Usually, Ernesto works at Broadway Junction, but that day he had to flee. “The police don’t let you work there, so you have to go from one place to another,” he says, noting that he’s all but abandoned Manhattan because of anti-vendor police vigilance.

As Ernesto talks, I munch on a churro. It’s hot out, so even after they’ve been out of the fryer for hours, the treats keep their heat pretty well. The outside is golden, sweet, and crunchy, while the inside is soft and doughy, porous with egg, and with a hint of salt. A perfect late-afternoon snack.

Ernesto says he’s been arrested five times in two years, but it’s not so bad: “They take you, say, at 1 p.m., then they release you around 1 p.m.—24 hours,” he says.

Another vendor, Maria (her real name, though she omitted her surname), laughs when I ask if she’s ever been to jail for work. She says she’s been five or six times, most recently about six weeks ago, and the fines vary from $100 to $1,500, though the charge is always the same. Maria came to the United States eight years ago, leaving five children in Guayaquil, Ecuador. When I ask why, she chuckles, cynicism sharpening her tone. “I came here thinking things would be better. But it’s the same—there’s one thing there, another here. There isn’t a difference.”

As we talk, people get off the trains, which scream as they lumber in and out of the station. Maria plans to go home to her kids in two years. She wants to sell three churros for $2 today, but most buyers walk away with two for $1, the going rate until recently, when Julio’s prices went up. Hiking retail prices, it turns out, is easier said than done.

Another day, Ernesto tells me about his family as dusk falls on an elevated platform. His oldest daughter is 15—growing up, he says. The others are 14, 11, and seven. After five years, he still speaks with his wife daily, but says, “The first days, you feel the sadness, the loneliness. Over time, the love doesn’t die, but you feel different. . . . The children start to forget you.”

I start to feel bad for prying and say so. “There are so many stories like this,” he says, “but one has to find a way to work. There are things that happen to all of us in life, as humans. If we work, we have problems. If we don’t work, we have problems. So we have difficulties. In life, nothing is easy. Everything comes at a cost. We are all equal in this.”

He says he occasionally sends his three girls American clothing “for something special, so they know something of what’s here,” he says.

For Maria, it’s about holding steadfast to her independence as she fights for her family: “I’m here, standing right here,” she says, pointing to the platform. “I like this—there’s nothing more to it: to be a vending person, to not be a person bound to a boss.”

When I leave, I buy two more churros and wander into the night, savoring the sugary fried goodness. Despite the bitterness and the sacrifice, something about it still tastes sweet.


Pedro Almodovar: “The Whole World has Changed for the Worse”

“The whole world has changed for the worse,” Pedro Almodóvar says, a sentiment that’s apparent in his latest comedy, I’m So Excited!. The film is reminiscent of another time, one the director admits he feels some yearning for: the 1980s, and, more specifically, Almodóvar’s films from that era. “The thing I miss the most about the ’80s is my own youth,” he says, “but I also miss the feeling of freedom when Spain was coming out of the Franco dictatorship. There was an explosion of liberty. Right now, socially speaking, Spain is going through a regression. If people don’t keep fighting for their rights, we’re going to be in danger of losing some of them.”

Spain is suffering from unemployment rates of more than 25 percent and a punishing austerity regime that’s left the unemployed feeling stranded. Almodóvar suggests that I’m So Excited! is a response to these difficult times. The satire takes place onboard a damaged airplane bound for Mexico City that is circling the sky over Toledo, Spain. Once the champagne—and eventually, mescaline—flows, the passengers’ secrets come out. “My connection with reality was trying to escape from it,” he says, “because it’s awful.”

Featuring a trio of gay flight attendants, the madame of a high-class brothel, and a hit man, the movie might seem like a frothy farce, but the director reminds us that “on some level, it’s a complaint about the times we’re living through.”

His next project may tackle Spain’s economic woes more directly, as it’s inspired directly by a news story. As he describes it, “There was one particular case of a 75-year-old woman whose daughter was murdered by her husband, but because they had been married with common funds, she inherited the debts of her son-in-law and got kicked out of her house. It was a horrific case.”

But: “It’s a good example of how to talk about this crisis.”

Ever the populist, Almodóvar adds, “It’s also very cinematic. If you make a political movie, it should be a real movie. If you look at Latin American movies in the ’70s, they were not good movies. There are exceptions, of course, but they forgot about telling stories.”

Tactfully, he declines to name names.

Since those long-gone ’80s, Almodóvar has been the most popular European filmmaker of his generation. While he’s never had a single film as commercially successful as, say, Amélie, he’s succeeded at branding himself with American arthouse audiences in a way that’s ensured a measure of success for almost all his works since Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. That came out when I was a college student in Boston in 1988, and it played the city’s arthouses for six months. Months-long runs for his films continue to be the norm.

If there’s any calculation behind this success, Almodóvar doesn’t want to talk about it. “It’s a mystery,” he says. “I’m very glad it happened.” He points out that the films he made before Women on the Verge saw little commercial acceptance in the U.S., and he complains that “the American market is very protectionist and gives little opportunity to foreign-language films. Only 2 percent of the films playing in America are foreign-language. In France, Spain and Italy, 80 to 85 percent of the screens are showing American films.”

If I’m So Excited!‘s attempts at recapturing the comic zest of Almodóvar’s ’80s films are sometimes a bit strained, the film is always a delight to look at, with the director’s characteristic lush use of color. Almodóvar acted as the de facto production designer. “Obviously, I employ someone to help with my vision,” he says, “but the color schemes of the plane, the seats, and the hallways were my decision. In Spain, we don’t actually have a production designer, someone who decides what the look of the film should be. So I take over that spot as part of my being a director.”

In addition to the movie about Spain’s economic woes, Almodóvar has one other card up his sleeve. He’s depicted gay men and transsexuals, but lesbians have rarely appeared in his films. One of his upcoming scripts will change that. As he says, “It’s not the main theme of the movie, but there are two lesbian protagonists. In Spain, gay men have a lot of visibility in ways that lesbians don’t have. It’s much more difficult to be openly lesbian than gay. There remains a lot of machismo. It’s definitely a topic I want to touch on.” For a filmmaker who’s often seemed like a descendant of George Cukor and Douglas Sirk, but with the ability to touch on queer subject matter that they couldn’t, it’s an intriguing proposition.

“I feel nostalgic for my youth. Spain was very different then. The whole world has changed for the worse.”

See Also:
Pedro Almodóvar’s Forgotten Films: 5 of the Spanish Maestro’s Best Comedies
I’m So Excited! is a Minor Work by a Major Master