Labyrinth Of Passion

This is an early and rather choice effort from Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovarhis second feature, made before he went slick and lost much of his funkiness. The varied cast of characters includes a onetime nymphomaniac named Sexilia who’s a member of a rock band, a gay Arab prince, a Lacanian psychotherapist, and assorted transvestites, punks, and Iranian fundamentalists. Cheerfully slapdash and high-spirited in the farcical John Waters manner, although one may get irritated at times with Almodovar’s wholesale rip-offs of other films’ musical scores (Miklos Rozsa is a particular favorite), his feeble flashbacks, and occasional heartlessness in choosing his sources of humor (e.g., a dry cleaner who periodically forces his daughter to have sex with him). Still, it’s much livelier than Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! With Cecilia Roth, Imanol Arias, Fernando Vivanco, Helga Line, and Marta Fernandez-Muro (1982). (JR)

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