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¡ALMODÓVAR! ¡IFI!

Pedro Almodovar

Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar has a new film coming out at the start of next month. It’s called Los Amantes Pasajeros which has been translated into the Queen’s English as I’m So Excited!. It’s a raunchy comedy that’s likely to be as farcical as it is enjoyable. I’ll let The Hollywood Reporter‘s plot summary fill you in some more.

While on board a flight bound for Mexico City, several crew members and first class passengers try to cope with the fact that the landing gear has failed and that they might all wind up plummeting to their deaths. Forced to come to terms with their dark secrets and oversized libidos as the plane circles above Spain, the characters begin to band together in all kinds of ways as they prepare for a nasty crash landing.

On the crew side there’s the trio of uber-gay flight attendants (Javier Camara, Raul Arevalo, Carlos Areces), the aforementioned co-pilot (Hugo Silva) and his straight-faced captain (Antonio de la Torre), whose sexual orientation is constantly brought into question (at one point he’s referred to as an “experimental c—sucker”). And on the passenger side there’s the clairvoyant virgin (Lola Duenas), the drug-smuggling groom (Miguel Angel Silvestre), the sharp-tongued madame (Cecilia Roth) and the mysterious dude in the dark suit (Jose Maria Yazpik), who tries to read Roberto Bolano’s 2666 when he’s not hiding his own sordid motives.

The film opens on limited release in Irish cinemas on May 3rd with preview screenings and satellite feed Q&A with the director at the Irish Film Institute (tickets) and the Lighthouse cinema (more info) on April 23rd at 6.30pm.

The IFI’s preview of I’m So Excited! is part of their Focus on Pedro Almodóvar season which has been playing throughout the month.

Cartoon from waldezcartuns.blogspot.comI’ve had a soft spot for Almodóvar for almost a decade now, ever since I saw Bad Education in Galway in the summer of 2004. This kick-started an interest in the man’s back catalogue, which in the days before having more or less on-demand online access to world cinema meant a lot of DVD box-sets from HMV or trips to the university film library. I eventually put all this knowledge to good use with a final year DCU Film Studies essay on the inter-textual confusion present in Almodóvar’s work – *high-brow alert*. The man and his body of work are a true gift to anyone who wants to dig deep into a director’s motives and influences with enough there in terms of queer theory, post-Franco Spain and women-driven narratives to fill a book – or indeed a shitload of books.

I think I’m in line with the critical consensus in considering Almodóvar’s master works his two melodramas from over a decade ago – 1999’s Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother) and 2002’s Hable con ella (Talk to Her). Both were lavished with awards across the globe which included Hollywood recognition in the form of Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for All About My Mother and Best Screenplay for Talk to Her. The former plays at the IFI tomorrow April 14th at 3.20pm and the latter is playing this Monday April 15th at 7pm.

The program has been running for a week already and has seen some of the director’s earlier work playing including 1982’s Labyrinth of Passion and 1991’s High Heels. Unfortunately the IFI haven’t found room for Antonio Banderas as kidnapping obsessive #1 film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1991) – a prequel of sorts to his much-celebrated turn in Banderas’ kidnapping obsessive #2 film The Skin I Live In (2011) which plays on April 24th.

Following all the archive screenings and the pseudo-Irish premiere of I’m So Excited!, there is also a free afternoon talk with UCD architecture professor Professor Hugh Campbell taking place on Thursday April 25th at 4pm which looks at the spaces in the director’s work, focusing on All About My Mother. Which sounds mad, but potentially brilliant if he brings a decent powerpoint presentation.

Take a look at the full season programme at ifi.ie/almodovar and check out a selection of videos that I’m dumping below.

1. This video one isn’t embeddable but what I wonder who Cruz and Banderas are going to be happiest about giving an Oscar to?

2. Pedro talks to Conan O’Brien (1994)

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3. Lauren Laverne (love her or hate her) chats to Pedro ahead of the British premiere of Broken Embraces.

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4. Jonathan Ross presents “For One Week Only” with Pedro. Five part documentary from 1990.

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5. I’m So Excited! (2013) Trailer

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And finally click on the image below for a closer look at the poster for his upcoming high-flying hoolie.

I'm So Excited (2013)  Los amantes pasajeros

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Nigel

Nigel loves stupid films almost as much as he likes clever films. He'll watch anything but is usually drawn to documentaries, North American independent films, Irish cinema and gung-ho, balls-to-the-walls Hollywood blockbusters. Here's what he's been watching.