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Love Kills

A lighthearted spoof about adultery in the suburbs and corpses that refuse to stay buried in the garden, "Love Kills" looks like it should have broad appeal for local Spanish and Portuguese auds. Featuring Carmen Maura at her breeziest and winking a malicious eye at middle-class amorality, it could easily work as a small European pickup.

With:
With: Carmen Maura, Juanjo Puigcorbe, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Lucina Gil.

A lighthearted spoof about adultery in the suburbs and corpses that refuse to stay buried in the garden, “Love Kills” looks like it should have broad appeal for local Spanish and Portuguese auds. Featuring Carmen Maura at her breeziest and winking a malicious eye at middle-class amorality, it could easily work as a small European pickup.

One hot summer day, Marcos (Juanjo Puigcorbe) strangles his young wife, Maria (Lucina Gil), when he discovers she is leaving him for their next-door neighbor Andre (Jean-Pierre Cassel). He buries her in the backyard and tries to forget the whole unpleasant business. Seeing that Andre is in Japan on a business trip, Marcos whimsically decides to bed his loving wife, Consuelo (Maura.) After an arduous seduction, their relationship is on the rocks, too, and another comically contrived murder is in the offing.

Colombian-born helmer Juan Manuel Chumilla (“El Infierno prometido”) shows a sure feel here for the kind of commercial comedy that leaves a faintly bitter aftertaste behind its glossy facade and careful pacing. Maura is charming as the rich housewife who panics after allowing her libido out one night. Imagining the gentle Puigcorbe as a homicidal maniac requires more suspension of disbelief than it’s worth. Other roles are basically walk-ons.

The two suburban houses, standing pretentiously side by side, with their adjoining lawns and suspiciously florid rose gardens, become major characters in the story thanks to art director Rafael Palmero. Cutter Nacho Ruiz Capillas maintains a sustained rhythm to keep the laughs flowing.

Love Kills

Spanish-French-Portuguese

Production: A Central de Producciones Audiovisuales (Madrid)/Lumiere Pictures (Paris)/MGN (Portugal) production. Directed, written by Juan Manuel Chumilla.

Crew: Camera (color), Juan Molina; editor, Nacho Ruiz Capillas; music, Miguel Franco; art direction, Rafael Palmero; sound, Dolby. Reviewed at Mystfest, Cattolica, Italy (competing), June 28, 1996. (Also in Montreal Film Festival.) Running time: 81 MIN.

With: With: Carmen Maura, Juanjo Puigcorbe, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Lucina Gil.

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