List Film

Labyrinth of Passion (3 stars)

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Labyrinth of Passion

(18) 94min (Tartan/DVD Retail)

SCREWBALL MELODRAMA

It was with this, Pedro Almodovar’s second film, made in 1982, that the brand of melodrama which has become known as ‘Almodorama’ – essentially a combination of melodrama and screwball comedy – emerged. Here Cecilia Roth plays Sexilia, a nymphomaniac who falls in love with Riza Niro (played by Imanol Arias), the homosexual son of the emperor of Tiran. He’s hiding out in Madrid, but, wary of being kidnapped, goes for an image makeover and becomes a rock star.

This is less than half the story, but gives a flavour of how early in his career Almodovar was interested in criss-crossing tales of coincidence and emotionally unlikely teamings. Almodovar himself admits it could have been ‘better made technically’, but this is still an accomplished early work as the punk aesthetic starts to give way to the labyrinths of passion that would become his trademark. Minimal extras.

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