Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Spain/France, 1993. El Deseo, CiBy 2000. Story and Screenplay by Pedro Almodovar. Cinematography by Alfredo Mayo. Production Design by Alain Bainee, Javier Fernández. Costume Design by Jose Maria de Cossio, Gianni Versace, Jean-Paul Gaultier. Film Editing by José Salcedo.
An Almodovar film has rarely been naughtier. After a delightfully dizzy makeup artist named Kika (Verónica Forqué, for whom the role was specifically written) starts applying makeup to a young man (Àlex Casanovas) recently dead of a heart attack, he revives during her work and falls in love with her. Years later, they’re living together and Casanovas has succeeded in his photography business while trying to avoid the shadow of his stepfather (Peter Coyote) and the memory of his dead mother. In some kinky wrinkles to the story: Kika’s lesbian maid (Rossy de Palma) is in love with her, the maid’s brother is a sociopathic porn star who has just escaped from prison and is on his way to her apartment, and a sensationalist television-journalist (Victoria Abril wearing some dizzy costume designs by Jean-Paul Gaulthier) is there to record it all for her audience. Almodovar spoofs people’s obsessions with serial killers and true crime, while never letting go of his flair for colourful, zesty comedy; it isn’t for the faint of heart, though, featuring a comedic rape scene and some gratuitously violent moments that will push the envelope for many viewers. Forque’s delightful performance at the centre is marvelous.