Thursday, 18 April 2013

"I'm So Excited!" by Pedro Almodovar

“All that happens in this movie is fiction and fantasy and bears no relation to reality”

A plane of “Peninsula” airline. Some technicians loading the boot with luggage. Jessica announces to his husband Leon that she is expecting a baby. When everything is ready, the plane takes off and the air hostesses start giving the typical security explanations to the passengers. Some of the people present pay attention and some others don’t. One hour and a half later they are all slept.

So begins the movie “I’m so excited!, written and directed by Pedro Almodovar. This Spanish director has been recognized for his great work worldwide. In fact, on December 2012, the American Film Academy carried out a retrospective of his filmography in London. Moreover, he won an Oscar in 1999 for “All about My Mother”, and was formerly nominated for “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” in 1988.

“I’m so excited!” began its shooting on July 2012 and ended on September, 7th. Its original title, “Los amantes pasajeros”, makes reference both to “passenger lovers” and “passing lovers”.

The movie was released last March, 8 in Spain, but Americans will have to wait until June 28 to have it in theatres.

The story is about a plane crew with motley characters travelling to Mexico D.F. But during the trip some technical problems appear and the captains decide to turn around until finding a solution.¡, but moreover, it exists the danger of crashing when landing. With this situation, the passengers, who are divided between first and second class, decide to enjoy what it could be their last minutes alive.

That plot carries a thought about the society and about the behavior of human beings in infuriating situations. That is to say, that as some of the members of the movie declared, it is a metaphor about the critic situation of the country and, in general terms, about the value crisis of the occidental society and about political leaders. On the other hand, it deals with homosexuality and bisexuality.

Both the production and the direction of the cast, a work that belongs to Almodovar, are especially detachable in this long movie. It seems evident that the cinematographic language of this Spanish director is each time more developed and refined, and at the same time he preserves his peculiar style. Some oblique shoots are especially eye-catching, and they can be interpreted as the overflow of normality in the trip. These kinds of shoots were also present in other movies like “The Skin I live In”, and they suggest visual dynamism. If there is something that could be improved, this would be the sensation of being inside an aeroplane. The audience can sometimes forget that the characters are in an enclosed place.

Regarding the screenplay, it has something singular and it is that the story is developed practically inside a sparse space, and that is something that conditions the writing. The script may be less deep than “The Skin I Live In”, but to comprehend it completely, the audience must know that actually there is a parallelism between the events and the social reality. Some current affairs are addressed, like Opus Dei, The Legion Of Christ, the Spanish king’s infidelity, nationalism, etcetera. These implicit mentions to the current affairs are made explicit through the presence of newspapers .

The cinematography, carried out by José Luis Alcaine, has a unique aesthetics, and makes the whole movie to have cohesion. The main colors are red, blue, orange and green. They are primary and secondary colors that complement themselves, as the characters personalities do.

The cast can not happen unnoticed, and it is in fact the main advertising slogan of the film. They are indispensable in “I’m So Excited!” because the action depends on their performances. Almost all of them are claimed and relevant Spanish actors. Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz appear only at the beginning of the movie as the technicians. Javier Cámara, Raúl Arévalo and Carlos Areces are the three main air hostesses. These three characters are gays, but Carlos Areces detaches especially. The captains are Anotonio de la Torre and Hugo Silva in the roles of Alex and Benito respectively. Some of the passengers are Miguel Angel Silvestre, Laya Martí, Lola Dueñas, Cecilia Roth, Guillermo Toledo, and etcetera. Other actresses appearing are Blanca Suárez, Paz Vega or Carmen Marchi. In short, an outstanding cast of actors that make possible this comedy.

There is something else that is not usual to talk about, but this time it is too bold to be avoided. That is the title credits, carried out by Estudios Mariscal. They have a quite original design as they are based on simple shapes with eye-catching colors, that include lines, arrows, polygons, and even a plane’s shape.

As a curiosity, the production of “I’m So Excited!” has counted on product placement of several brands, including Chanel, Apple, Panasonic and some alcoholic drinks brands.

Other interesting fact is the name of the plane in which the story takes place: “Chavela Blanca”. This is an evident tribute to the Costa-Rican born Mexican Chavela Vargas that passed out on August, 5 2012. That singer had collaborated in several movies of the director.

Concerning the music, Almodóvar has decided to count one more time with the composer Alberto Iglesias, who has been nominated three times to the Oscars. That includes a version of the famous song “I’m So Excited!” that gives name to the movie. It has also a song called “Para Elisa” by the Peruvian group Los Destellos.

“Los amantes pasajeros” is already the most successful release of Almodovar’s movies, with an income of 1,925,655 euros on its first weekend in Spain.

All in all, what is worth from the point of view of the one who is writing this is the production, the performances and the message that it transmits.

“Last night I dreamt that my life was going to change” I’m So Excited!


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