Torremolinos 73

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Given an indulgent viewing, writer-director Pablo Berger’s comedy about a Madrid  encyclopaedia salesman and his attractive wife ‘forced’ into making and performing in blue ‘educational’ films by his company can be quite diverting and funny. Bald, paunchy Javier Cámara, so superbly feeling in Almodóvar’s ‘Talk to Her’, proves an equally accomplished comedian here, outdoing even John Cleese with his armoury of grimaces as he gently mutates from ingenuous underdog to a self-delusional Bergmanesque porn director. Set at the fag end of the repressive Franco era, the film shows a keen, often affectionate awareness of the infelicities and hypocrisies of the time, not least the understandably clumsy embrace of sexual freedoms. And it’s refreshingly frank. But, on a second viewing, Berger’s film still strikes me as overly self-satisfied and too convinced of its own hilarity, its blinkered immersion in a world of pastel-hued ’70s kitsch disarming its satirical barbs and overlooking some unintentional sexism and xenophobia of its own.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday June 24 2005
Duration: 93 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Pablo Berger
Screenwriter: Pablo Berger
Cast: Javier Cámara
Candela Peña
Juan Diego
Fernando Tejero
Mads Mikkelsen
Malena Alterio
Ramón Barea
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