Archive for March 10th, 2006

Returns

Almodóvar’s latest film is called Volver (means ‘Return’, dunno how it’s going to get translated into English, but I’d be willing to bet a fiver on Going Back).

As the El Pais article notes, Almodóvar has pointed out the six ‘returns’ in the film: to comedy, to the feminine universe, to La Mancha, to his actresses (Carmen Maura, Penelope Cruz and Chus Lampreave), motherhood, and his mother. His mother appears in at least one of his films, Kika, where she is a talk show host interviewing Peter Coyote.

A seventh ‘return’ he could have added is returning itself. The idea of returning has been a pivotal theme in Almodóvar’s films. In La Mala Educacion, there is a return to the school where the protagonist was supposed to have been abused by the priest. In La Flor De Mi Secreto, Leo Macías (played by Marisa Paredes) returns to her mother’s La Mancha village to seek refuge. I’m sure there are others, but I can’t think of any now.

It’s weird, because sometimes when thinking about scenes from his films, I often get confused about which film the scene comes from. Anyway, I’m a big fan, so here, in order no less, are my top 10 Almodóvar films:

1. Hable con ella
2. La flor de mi secreto
3. ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto!!
4. Todo sobre mi madre
5. Carne trémula
6. Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del monton
7. Tacones Lejanos
8. Kika
9. Matador
10. Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios

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Cloaca Maxima

One who writes racist slogans and smears shit on the inside walls of a church has serious issues (the same would apply to someone who did it on the outside walls, but you know what I mean).

My 10CC on Soft Rock

Why is soft rock making a ‘comeback’? Is there something in the spirit of the times that stimulates a craving for a Peaceful Easy Feeling? I am very suspicious of these things.

I say this while listening to the clippety clop percussion and lolloping bassline to A Horse with No Name by America. What is it that causes pop music listeners to shun abrasiveness and discord, and wallow in syrup? Why then and why now?

The other day I was in Tower Records and they were selling an ELO compilation for the extortionate price of 20 Euro. That illustrates how much of a demand there is for this sort of stuff. By contrast, you can pick up Horses by Patti Smith for under a tenner.

I’m willing to guess that it’s not men in their 50s and 60s doing the buying, but 30-somethings who caught the tail-end of soft rock the first time round. As the guy in the article points out, ‘it’s like the smell of warm bread. It totally takes you back’.

It is music as childhood regression, a comfort blanket for people with a mortgage who’d rather not have to worry about environmental collapse or a nuclear disaster. Life in an Uncut universe. No surprises, no sharp turns, and no sense of danger, subtext or controversy. No tension is left resolved, and every tune finishes on a major chord or a tasteful fade-out. It’s like being addicted to painkillers. Get me off this shit.


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March 2006
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