Sunday, May 16, 2021

Pepi, Luci, Bom Y Otras Chicas del Monton/Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom

Movie Name: Pepi, Luci, Bom y Otras Chicas del Monton/Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom
Year of Release: 1980
Director: Pedro Almodovar
Starring: Carmen Maura, Alaska, Eva Silva, Felix Rotaeta, Cecilia Roth, Kiti Manver, Julieta Serrano, Assumpta Serna, Carlos Tristancho, Blanca Sanchez, Agustin Almodovar
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6 
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
"Pepi, Luci, Bom y Otras Chicas del Monton" is director Pedro Almodovar's feature directorial debut, following a series of shorts he created in the 70s. The film focuses on the story of three women, starting with the rebellious Pepi. We first witness her going through her hobbies, until a policeman interrupts her day, checking her apartment for pot. When she tries to bribe him with oral sex, he rapes her. Seeking revenge, Pepi arranges for her friend Bom and her band to beat up the policeman. Turns out they end up beating up the policeman's twin brother. Still intent on her revenge, Pepi befriends the policeman's wife Luci, who is somewhat of a masochist. She eventually becomes Bom's lover, much to the irritation of the policeman. As the three go about enjoying the cultural life of Madrid, Pepi eventually has to find a job since her father stops sponsoring her life. She becomes a writer for advertising spots. The humiliated policeman however, is on the prowl once more, and manages to kidnap Luci and punishes her so severely she finds herself in the hospital. 
Shot in the span of two years, with very limited budget, "Pepi, Luci, Bom..." was a development of the short story Almodovar had written under the title "General Erections". The film itself is demonstrative of the counter-culture and punk attitude which permeated Spain's cultural life right after the abolishment of Franco's dictatorship in 1975. Unlike the more tightly woven narratives the director would craft in his subsequent films, this one feels very much like a collection of vignettes, destined to illustrate the lives of these women, who are trying to find their place in life, while being liberated and also owning their choices. It's a film where some of the traits of Almodovar's directorial career are already emerging, namely the focus on women's narratives, and how they manage to overcome the strict limitations men force or impose on them, married with his quirky and delirious sense of humor. The cast features some of his long lasting accomplices, including Carmen Maura, Kiti Manver, Cecilia Roth and Julieta Serrano, who would continue to appear in his films throughout this career. While not as consistent as his later films, it's still a wonderful view into the mind of one of the most gifted film makers currently working.