Salted pork shanks as leitmotiv in Jamón Jamón a dark comedy about an absurd love triangle: this is what post-Franco cine is all about (food and sex). Spanish tortillas (i.e., potato omelets) are also big in this one. Director José Juan Bigas Luna is intelligent, wry, and--despite the formulaic narrative that melodrama must essentially contain--unpredictable. At times his film exudes a certain Almodóvar flavour, but there is an edge, perhaps even heavy-handedness, to the dark humour that is either Lunas success or his downfall. The film garnered the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, after all. Try to follow: sexy Penelope Cruz (Belle Epoque) is growing up with her mother outside town on the wrong side of the highway. Together they run a truck stop where cars and life literally race past. Cruz is in love with Jordí Molla, by whom she is pregnant, but Mollas bourgeois mother, played by Anna Galiena (Being Human), thinks he can and should do better (of course, neither Cruz nor his mother knows of the erotic, avian interludes Molla enjoys on the side.) To save her son from the lower classes, Galiena hires Javier Bardem, a muscular, pretty man (whose regular consumption of the pork he distributes for a living has enhanced his sexual appeal) to pursue Cruz. The dark comedy finds a proper ending to the triangle in a grotesque but comedic landscape of death. This is not a cookie-cutter movie but rather one that will resonate with both your light and dark sides. After each surprise, youll chuckle, feel guilty, and chuckle again.
Class, sex, and food are the obsessions of this Spanish comedy drama, an international hit from writer and director J.J. Bigas Luna that plays like a cross between the lusty Like Water for Chocolate (1992) and the early work of Pedro Almodovar. In a small town in Spains arid Monegros region, young underwear factory executive Jose Luis (Jordi Molla) falls in love with the beautiful Silvia (Penelope Cruz), a worker on the shop floor. When Silvia becomes pregnant, Jose Luis wants to marry her, but his mother Conchita (Stefania Sandrelli), the factory owner, is appalled by the thought of her son marrying a working-class girl, especially one who is the daughter of a prostitute, Carmen (Anna Galiena). So Conchita hatches a scheme to woo Silvia away from her son by hiring handsome model Raul (Javier Bardem) to seduce the girl. A ham factory employee with aspirations to become a bullfighter, Rauls charms work their magic on both Silvia and Conchita, much to the dismay of Jose Luis, who seeks comfort in the arms of his sometime lover, Carmen. Jamon Jamon (1992) was the winner of a Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival. . Karl Williams
`Jamon Jamon" is the funniest sexy movie, or the sexiest comedy, since "Like Water for Chocolate." The movie is an outrageous throwback to the days when directors took crazy chances, counting on their audience to keep up with them. It comes from Spain, land of Luis Bunuel and Pedro Almodovar, and is in their wicked anarchic spirit; it sees sex as a short cut to the ridiculous in human nature.
The movie, which won the Silver Lion at the 1993 Venice Film Festival, takes place in a steamy little provincial town, where the richest family owns the underwear factory. The most famous local landmark is a billboard of a bull with a pair of cajones you can see for miles. Jose Luis, the son of the underwear people, falls in love with Silvia, the pneumatic and sensuous daughter of Carmen, who runs the local bordello.
Joses rich mother, Conchita, horrified that her son might marry the daughter of a prostitute, decides to take matters into her own hands. She hires Raul, who works in the local ham factory, to seduce Silvia away from Jose Luis. Raul is chosen because he is also the model for the familys underwear ads, and looks promising in briefs.
The plot thickens. Conchita, the rich woman, grows so distracted by Raul that she begins an affair with him, if affair is the word for events so carnal they suggest years of marital deprivation. Meanwhile, it turns out that the young suitor Jose Luis is better known to Silvias mother than he should be. "If you marry my daughter," Carmen tells him, "I dont want to see you around here anymore!" Jose Luis begs for one last visit upstairs with Carmen. The logic here is unassailable: Since Silvia is ostensibly a virgin, it is only proper that Jose Luis meet his needs in a discreet manner. If that means continuing as the client of his future mother-in-law, well, business is business.
There is more. There is much more. I do not know how to even begin describing the scene with the garlic and the pig. Or how to explain why and how Raul and his friend decide to go bullfighting in the nude at midnight. Nor can I adequately describe what happens to the cajones on the billboard, except to suggest that John Wayne Bobbitt should probably not see this film.
"Jamon Jamon," a title that translates as "Ham Ham," is a movie that combines lurid melodrama with vast improbabilities, sexy soap opera with heartfelt romance, and cheerful satire with heedless raunch. As is only proper, it stars actors of considerable physical appeal, most particularly Penelope Cruz as Silvia, Anna Galiena as Carmen, and Stefania Sandrelli (from Bertoluccis "The Conformist") as Conchita. Javier Bardem, as Raul, is well cast as the town stud. And Jordi Molla, as Jose Luis, is appropriately hapless.
- Stefania SandrelliPropietaria fabrica ropa
- Anna GalienaProstituta
- Juan DiegoEl padre
- Penélope CruzSilvia
- Javier BardemRaul
- Jordi MollàEl novio de Silvia
- Tomás MartínAmigo Raúl
- Armando Del RioAmigo José Luis
- Diana SassenAmiga Silvia
- Chema MazoPadre de Silvia
- Isabel de Castro OrosHermana Silvia
- Nazaret CallaoHermana Silvia