Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Screenwriter: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Verónica Forqué, Victoria Abril, Peter Coyote, Alex Casanovas, Rossy De Palma.
Synopsis: Make-up artist Kika (Forqué) lives with her photographer boyfriend Ramón (Casanovas) who remains obsessed with his mother’s suicide some years earlier. Ramón’s ex-stepfather (and Kika’s ex-lover), Nicholas (an American writer (Coyote)), returns to Madrid after two years of travelling and moves into the studio above their apartment. Andrea (Abril) is a former psychologist (and Ramón’s ex) who now presents a garish reality TV show, El peor del día (The Worst of the Day), which broadcasts real footage of horrific crimes. Meanwhile, an escaped rapist seeks assistance from his sister (De Palma), who happens to be Kika’s housekeeper…
A.k.a. the first Almodóvar film I ever saw. Despite it being disliked by many people, and despite my own ‘issues’ with the film (namely the rape scene), I do hold it in some affection simply because it was my introduction to the director. It gives a scathing critique of ‘reality’ television and is a difficult film to like, perhaps not surprisingly given that Almodóvar has said that it is about ‘the sickness of big cities’ (Strauss 2006: 123). But Verónica Forqué gives a wonderful performance as the ever-optimistic Kika (and was memorably described in Sight & Sound as ‘a curious combination of Judy Holliday and Barbara Windsor’ by Paul Julian Smith (1994: 8)), and Victoria Abril also looks like she’s having fun as the deeply malevolent Andrea Caracortada (‘Scarface’).