HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Jamón Jamón hamming it up
Year: 1992
Director: Bigas Luna
Stars: Stefania Sandrelli, Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Anna Galiena, Jordi Mollà
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Sex, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: This steamy, soap opera was a breakthrough hit for Spanish filmmaker Bigas Luna, gaining him critical and popular acclaim across Europe. However, its indifferent reception in America - the mix of camp melodrama, surrealism, social satire and earthy, defiant sexuality bewildering many - has meant his films aren’t widely distributed. So he doesn’t enjoy the same English language appreciation as his countryman, Pedro Almodóvar. If one mentions that Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem are frequently naked here, hopefully more viewers will give this a try and seek out other work by this engaging, iconoclastic filmmaker.

Our heroine Sylvia (Penélope Cruz) is pregnant. Boyfriend, Jose Luis (Jordi Mollà) is heir to a men’s underwear manufacturers’ empire, and his bitchy mum, Carmen (Anna Galiena) doesn’t want her precious boy gallivanting with the daughter of brothel owner, Conchita (Stefania Sandrelli). It seems Conchita was once intimate with Carmen’s husband, but Jose Luis frequents her brothel too, masturbating while his future mother-in-law performs a bizarre act with a parrot. Carmen assigns underwear stud/nude bullfighter/ham enthusiast, Raul (Javier Bardem - introduced with a big, close-up on his bulging groin) to seduce Sylvia, but the big lug falls for the winsome heroine. Sylvia and Raul plan to run away, but Carmen won’t give up her boy toy. It all ends the only way these things can: with two men battering each other with giant hambones - and if you saw that coming, you’re a liar.

If heart-rending tragedy, raunchy sex (including Sylvia and Raul’s hilariously overwrought coupling), throwaway surrealism (a lizard crawling out of a broken doll’s eye), bizarre dream sequences and characters bouncing in and out of love like human ping-pong balls, don’t appeal - then Jamón Jamón (it means: ham. Flesh - the desire for and exploitation of in all its forms being the dominant theme) isn’t for you. Those who appreciate outrageous strangeness mixed with pathos and humanity (Like Almodóvar’s finest films) will love it. Plot-wise it’s as convoluted as any tele-novella, but Luna lampoons soap opera conventions and Latin machismo. While men strut, women make the real, life-changing decisions. Skilfully photographed with magnificent vistas, Luna makes careful use of symbolism, foreshadowing later events in his story. Nicola Piovani supplies a hauntingly beautiful score. Snatches of early Nineties dance music may sound dated, but add to the overheated tone. Penélope Cruz is wide-eyed and appealingly feisty in her star-making role, while Javier Bardem makes a magnificent bastard - explored further in his next collaboration with Luna: Golden Balls (1993).

One flaw is that viewers genuinely caught up in Sylvia’s tragic story are liable to feel a little cheated by the end when it’s all revealed as one, big joke. Tragicomedy is delicate balance, which could be why some audiences were turned off. Nevertheless, Luna’s conclusion offers a fantastic, final gag. As tragedy strikes, credits roll and the music swells, a noisy shepherd drives his flock right through the dramatic climax. Hilarious, ridiculous and inventive, Jamón Jamón remains a true original.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4252 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: