Monday, February 24, 2020

Iberian Nights: Bigas Luna’s Passion Trilogy March 27 - April 2 at the Quad

The Quad presents the whimsically erotic "Iberian Passion Trilogy" from Spanish director Bigas Luna: Jamón Jamón ('92), Golden Balls ('93), and The Tit and the Moon ('94)—all imported 35mm prints

Featuring early performances from Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Benicio Del Toro. With special guests Professor Santiago Fouz Hernández (Durham University UK), Bigas Luna's daughter, Betty Bigas, and more in person

In the 1970s, maverick Spanish filmmakers brought forth pictures that bucked the repressive establishment ethos of their country. While Pedro Almodóvar is the best-known, his contemporary Bigas Luna (1946-2013) cut a distinctive stylistic swath that turned heads. Luna initially concentrated on dark and twisted thrillers but later enjoyed making international audiences blush; his proclivity for erotic stories yielded increasingly free rein and naughty whimsy, as he enlisted up-for-anything actors to be co-conspirators in his visions—most memorably, future real-life couple Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. The Quad remembers this seductive storyteller with his “Iberian Passion Trilogy,” through which Luna’s design background and painter’s eye add to the enveloping feel of these contemporary fairy tales marbled with social and sexual studies.

Co-presented by The Bigas Luna Tribute, a series of global homage events organized by Bigas Luna’s daughter, Betty Bigas, and Bigas Luna specialist Santiago Fouz Hernández (Professor in Hispanic Studies and Film Studies at Durham University, UK).

Jamón Jamón
Bigas Luna, 1992, Spain, 95m, 35mm
Bubbling over with torrid sex sequences, voluptuous food content, and winkingly outrageous melodrama, the first of Luna’s “Iberian Passion Trilogy” became his biggest success at home and abroad while hot-listing its younger leads for stardom. Jordi Mollà plays a poor little rich boy who falls for local Penélope Cruz (in her film debut), but as she is the daughter of madam Anna Galiena, his mother Stefania Sandrelli won’t abide the match — and hires Javier Bardem to horn in.

Official Selection: Venice Film Festival, Miami International Film Festival

Winner: Silver Lion, Venice Film Festival

In Spanish with English subtitles

“The funniest sexy movie [...] since Like Water For Chocolate.” — Roger Ebert

Golden Balls
Bigas Luna, 1993, Spain, 95m, 35mm
Javier Bardem gets his swagger on for the sly second film in Luna’s trilogy, oozing toxic masculinity as a cocksure aspiring industrialist who operates in acquisition mode both personally and professionally. The supporting cast includes pre-Pulp Fiction Maria de Medeiros, pre-The Usual Suspects Benicio Del Toro, Maribel Verdú (later of Y Tu Mamá También), character actor Ismael [“East”] Carlo, and (in her final film) María Martín of Luna’s Bilbao.

Official Selection: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

In Spanish with English subtitles

The Tit and the Moon
Bigas Luna, 1994, Spain, 93m, 35mm
Luna caps his “Iberian Passion Trilogy;” although Javier Bardem has only a cameo, cinematographer José Luis Alcaine and composer Nicola Piovani top their previous contributions for the director in most fanciful and fantastical style. Nine-year-old boy Biel Duran feels overshadowed by his new baby brother, and fixates on hoping for the miracle of mother’s milk from another source—perhaps the stunning ballerina (played by Mathilda May of Lifeforce infamy) visiting his village?

Official Selection: Venice Film Festival, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

In Catalan, Spanish and French; with English subtitles

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