Thursday, 11 August 2011

¡Átame! / Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Pedro Almodóvar, 1990)

Antonio Banderas and Victoria Abril
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Screenwriter: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Victoria Abril, Antonio Banderas, Loles León, Francisco (Paco) Rabal.
Synopsis: Freshly released from the mental hospital, Ricky (Banderas) wants to settle down, get married and have kids. He has decided that his future wife will be Marina (Abril), an ex-porn star, now serious actress (with a drug habit), who is working on a horror film for renowned director Máximo Espejo (Rabal). So he kidnaps her, ties her to the bed, and announces his intentions…

Released with little fuss in Spain (where it was favourably received by the critics and was among the biggest domestic hits of the year (Smith 2000: 108)), this film became notorious on its release in the US and led to the creation of the NC-17 certificate (the MPAA originally gave the film an X rating, which was usually applied to hard-core pornography). I’ve clearly become de-sensitised to sexual content because I struggle to see what the fuss was about (is the plot actually that different to Beauty and the Beast?). I think your perception of the film depends on whether you take the world on screen to be ‘reality’ or a heightened, Almodóvarian representation. I’m trying to keep these summaries short, so there isn’t really the space to discuss it here, but I don’t think that the film is intended to be taken as literally as some people have done. One to be written about in the future, when I’ve got more time and space to discuss it.