Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
Born under the sign of Almodóvar, though not so supple in its parsing of perversity, Paco León’s homeland hit finds comedy and a little pathos in the mismatched sexual kinks of a group of interconnected Spaniards. Paco (director León) and Ana, for example, work on reigniting their passion by visiting bondage parties and furry nightclubs – and find themselves igniting unexpected passions in others. Natalia, meanwhile, discovers after getting mugged that she has a case of harpaxophilia, helpfully explained on-screen as “sexual arousal being produced by being robbed with violence,” while José learns he has somnophilia, sexual pleasure caused by watching someone sleep. If you caught a whiff of the non-consensual in any of this, it may or may not encourage you to learn that in this film’s sunny view of gratification, nobody ends up feeling used.
A remake of the Australian sex comedy, The Little Death, it could hardly differ more in spirit, transposing the action to a sweltering Madrid and celebrating difference, its message never more sweetly displayed than when a hearing-impaired call centre worker (fetish: silk) helps a voiceless customer indulge his fantasies through a phone sex line.