La Movida Madrileña celebrates a period of radical invention in Spanish cinema — Tone Madison
But the series kicks off on February 11 with Arrebato (from 1979, technically a year before the recognized debut of La Movida Madrileña). Perhaps the most notorious of the bunch, Ivan Zulueta’s film has screened occasionally over the years, but is now seeing its first official US release, a dramatic upgrade from its previous existence as a rip-off. somewhat squashed line that was recommended for fans. cult movies like Possession (nineteen eighty one).
This reflective work of art follows José (Eusebio Poncela), a moderately successful filmmaker and occasional heroin user who receives a film and tape in the mail from his ex-girlfriend’s strange cousin, Pedro (Will More ), an aspiring filmmaker of uncertain age. As José listens to Pedro’s tape and is brought back to memories of their meeting years ago, Zulueta mixes scenes from the past and present, detailing Pedro’s strange fixation on José. Pedro details a practice by which he photographs himself in time-lapse while he sleeps, trying to capture an indefinite ravishing moment that he is sure happens at night and can only happen with the involvement of the camera. All the while, Zulueta shows his hand as an experimental filmmaker, interpolating video and film-within-film in a postmodern mix that would seem academic if it weren’t so engrossing.
Given Zulueta’s penchant for proper footage, especially monster flicks and political demonstration footage, it’s no surprise that his magnum opus is so focused on how the cameras capture the soul. Like David Cronenberg or Kiyoshi Kurosawa (from 2001 Impulse), Zulueta posits that we are existentially merging with new technologies that mediate our understanding of the world and of self, to the point where these technologies take a part of our humanity for themselves. The technological metaphor serves the Madrileña well – in a period oscillating between Francoism and the future, the film camera of Arrebato represents a desperate call to capture something “physical” as immaterial forms announce an uncertain future. Insofar as Zulueta maps a societal metaphor on celluloid, he seems to find the place between fascism and freedom (much like celluloid versus digital, and heroin use versus sobriety) as inherently compromised. Every path forward erases you or finds you a new master.
This generational gap is transformed into a clearer dichotomy in Dressed in blue, too, where young sex workers enjoy boutique fashion and “softer” work compared to their older counterparts who struggle daily with more marginal street work. Younger subjects also tend towards a kind of idealistic leftism and have intensely principled positions about their clientele and working conditions. Less modern women are calmer on this front, tired of how they have had to compromise their politics in the name of survival.
Pedro Almodóvar is certainly the most written descendant of the movement, and his first film dark habits (1983) is the funniest and funniest series, concluding on February 25. It follows Yolanda (Cristina Pascual), a heroin-addicted singer who, after the death of her boyfriend, seeks refuge in a convent run by a team of drug addicts. nuns pushing and writing erotica. The film is a quintessential example of Almodovar’s movement and career to come, focusing on the increasingly thin lines between the sacred and the profane. For the nuns of dark habits, the dichotomies hardly seem to exist; drugs and sex are timeless after all, and religion is a mass opiate.