I am pretty sure the first time I saw one of Pedro Almodóvar's movies was in my high school Spanish class. I was completely entranced, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was unlike anything I had ever seen before. And hence began my long love affair with his films.
I am not ashamed to admit that I spent a good part of my twenties scouring eBay for hard-to-find copies of his early films like Pepi, Luci, and Bom or The Labyrinth of Passion. One of my favorites, What Have I Done to Deserve This, I could only find on VCD (yeah Video CD, it exists) in Taiwan. Gracias a Dios por eBay!
A full decade (and more) into my Almodóvar love affair I am past the giddy butterflies-in-your-stomach phase. Now, it feels like a long-term relationship. Since the late nineties I have seen all of his new releases in a theater: All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Bad Education, Volver, Broken Embraces, and The Skin I Live In. Some I absolutely adored and others were kinda meh. Pedro and I have been through good times and bad. But sitting in a dark theater, sinking into a plush chair, and awaiting the start of a new Almodóvar movie feels just like going home for Christmas or like a hug from my mom -- it's comforting and blissful.
A few weeks ago I got to preview his newest film I'm So Excited and I fell in love all over again.
The title in Spanish, Los amantes pasajeros, hints at the storyline -- a group of travelers aboard a plane flying to Mexico City that seems likely to crash, terrified and fearing for their lives, begin to confess their spicy life secrets.
The cast brings together old Almodóvar favorites with newcomers and well-known actors. The movie stars Javier Camara (Talk to Her), Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother) and Lola Dueñas (Volver). Spanish comedians Carlos Areces, Raúl Arévalo and Mexican actor José María Yazpik round out the cast along with cameos by Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas.
Almodóvar was present at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater along with some of his actors. The ruckus affair came complete with champagne, popcorn, and many Almodóvarisms. While introducing the film he explained, "there is lots of sex" and the passengers on the plane, "have an incredible orgy." He then told the audience, "to which you are also invited after the movie." And before the lights dimmed Almodóvar told everyone he hoped they enjoyed the film but gave the caveat, "If you don't find it entertaining, blame the subtitles."
I'm So Excited is a return to what Almodóvar does best; it's an absurd sex-filled comedy. It's an orgy in the sky complete with jazz hands, flamboyant flight attendants, binge drinking, drugs, a porn actress, a psychic (who also happens to be a virgin), and a pilot who is exploring his sexual identity. It's a story that only Almodóvar could tell and that's exactly why I fell in love with his films in the first place.
I'm So Excited opened on Friday, June 28 in New York and Los Angeles with other cities to follow in the coming weeks.