Labyrinth of Passion Reviews
"Labyrinth of Passion" was made during the golden age of the Madrid movida, between 1977 and 1983, and almost all the key figures of the movement - painters, musicians - are part of the large cast. Depicting the hedonism of underground music venues and gay cruising grounds, the daring script shows Almodóvar's enthusiastic embrace of Spain's new-found freedom of expression. For this reason, the film retains an emblematic power in Spain. It ran for ten years on a midnight run at Madrid's Alphaville cinema, but was released in the United States, England, France and Italy only after the success of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. This was Almodóvar's second film and independently produced with a shoestring budget which allowed for better production values than his previous film "Pepi, Luci, Bom", and to employ a more complex narrative. Although badly received by Spanish film critics, "Labyrinth of Passion" was a modest success and quickly reached cult film status. The film is an outrageous look at love and sex, framed in Madrid of the early 1980s, during the so-called Movida madrileña, a period of sexual adventurousness between the dissolution of Franco's authoritarian regime and the onset of AIDS consciousness. "Positively bristles with vibrant colors and a wildly comic sexual energy," wrote Marsha Kinder in Film Comment. Nevertheless, critical reaction was generally negative. Writing in El Periodico, JL. Guarner suggested that: "The story is nothing more than a series of episodes, summarily linked, and what we have come to call cinema plays little part in it. The bizarre plot does not live up to its promise, for its weakened by parallel subplots which weave in and out of it more or less haphazardly." Almodóvar said about "Labyrinth of Passion": "I like the film even if it could have been better made. The main problem is that the story of the two leads is much less interesting than the stories of all the secondary characters. But precisely because there are so many secondary characters, there's a lot in the film I like." This is I reckon clear evidence of a young Almodóvar that hadn´t yet found his way of making film with a flow and with a main plot that can handle all the subplots. It´s very messy in the storyline and it´s hard to keep track of all the crazy characters that move in and out of the film and the film becomes very scattered. And his attempt of adding as much "chock value" as possible shines through and it becomes over ambitious and a bit too much in my eyes. But, at the same time I do like the fact that he goes all in with so many things concerning sexuality, love and the psyche he wants to shed a light on in "Labyrinth of Passion".
After watching this movie I came to the conclusion that Pedro Almodóvar must be one of the globe's worst directors/story writers. He has made several (rather tasteless) movies about homosexuality but this one is the worst by far. Almodóvar portraits gay men as hairy, ugly, unatractive men with high female voices and ugly large white knickers with an unhealthy portion of flamboyance, let's say the tasteless version of Freddie Mercury in his I want to break free video clip. No wonder heterosexuals do have prejudices against the gay if they are shown like this.
I went aggressive after seeing this movie and I deliberately missed the last thirty minutes. I am not the type of viewer who normally switches off a movie before the end but tonight I thought "To hell with this crap Almodóvar!". Thank goodness he made Hable con ella many years after this movie. That was when he received my respect.
Skip this crap! You are warned!
Something for everyone! Orgies, gay sex, incest..you name it.