Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom – 1980 Almodóvar
Though 1978’s Folle… folle… fólleme Tim! Is technically Almodóvar’s debut, most cinephiles use Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom as the great Spanish auteur’s starting point (he made a number of short films as well).
Loud talk and loud clothes—this is Almodovar.
This is a raunchy, button-pushing (multiple rape scenarios- and in a comedy) enfant terrible Almodovar. The setting is Madrid and the punk scene.
Bold, colorful titles (above)- even in an ugly, grainy 16mm Almodóvar’s style bleeds through
In the home of Félix Rotaeta’s character Almodovar sets a great frame. The wallpaper is dramatic, there is vibrant drape on the table that pops. The three characters facing the frame, in a cinematic painting, talking to each other while facing the camera.
A few small narrative cheats like Pepi talking to herself.
Provocateur—masochism, rape, an abundance of bathroom humor– Almodovar seems to be trying to check every taboo box—with that and the homemade coarse look- it does feel like John Waters.
Even in 1980 Carmen Maura has a clear screen presence that stand above the others.
In the coke scene there are purple chandeliers, murals in the background, multicolored drinks (on purpose- just like Ozu in his color period to help design the frame- a splash of color) in the glasses- this arrangement was at the 54-minute mark.
Bom’s character is a strange addition—just from a story standpoint you probably do not want a character talking about being bored all the time and talking about how “lame” everything is- even if it is realistic.
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