Review: ‘The Law of Desire’

Spain's master of pop and pastiche, Pedro Almodovar, turns his talents here to a gay love triangle, with extraneous touches of fantasy farce and camp humor. Pic also has a certain outrageous look to it which makes the antics more palatable.

Spain’s master of pop and pastiche, Pedro Almodovar, turns his talents here to a gay love triangle, with extraneous touches of fantasy farce and camp humor. Pic also has a certain outrageous look to it which makes the antics more palatable.

Convoluted story concerns a famous film director, Pablo (Eusebio Poncela), and his way-out sister, Tina (Carmen Maura). Pablo is madly in love with Juan (Miguel Molina), who works in an outdoor bar in Andalucia. The third part of the triangle, Antonio (Antonio Banderas), falls deeply in love with the director, and ultimately decides to get rid of his competitor, Juan, by pushing him off a cliff.

Tina, the sister, turns out to have changed her sex, and lives with her director-brother as well as a 10-year-old girl, who’s a model. The model’s mother is played by a well-known Spanish transvestite, Bibi Andersen (no relation to the Swedish actress).

Buoying pic are some of Almodovar’s clowning touches, such as having a kind of ornate chapel in Pablo’s apartment to which Tina and the kid offer mocking prayers, or two mock-heroic detectives investigating Miguel’s death. However, some audiences may fail to empathize with the many gay sex sequences, an integral part of the film from the first to the last frame.

The Law of Desire

Spain

Production

El Deseo/Laurenfilm. Director Pedro Almodovar; Producer Miguel A. Perez Campos; Screenplay Pedro Almodovar; Camera Angel Luis Fernandez; Editor Jose Salcedo; Art Director Javier Fernandez

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Eusebio Poncela Carmen Maura Antonio Banderas Miguel Molina Manuela Velasco Bibi Andersen
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