Made in 1982, but released in the US in 1990 following the success of WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, Pedro Almodovar's LABYRINTH OF PASSION is a screwball sex comedy set in a world of unorthodox and baroquely intertwined personal relationships in Madrid. Predicated on mistaken
identity and misinterpreted motives, the plot is a tangle that defies simple summary.
Among the some 50 characters is Sexilia (Cecilia Roth), "Sexi" for short, a carefree, heliophobic nymphomaniac whose father (Luis Ciges) is a repressed, world-famous fertility specialist. Hoping to exorcise her fear of sunlight, Sexi consults a therapist, who announces that Sexi's trouble is
incestuous attraction to her father. The therapist then confesses her own determination to seduce the fertility expert, whose patients include the manipulative, aristocratic Toraya (Helga Line). Toraya, in turn, has designs on Riza Niro (Imanol Arias), the gay son of the deposed ruler of the Arab
nation of Tyran. Riza, who just wants to cruise the Spanish bars and docks incognito, has difficulty maintaining a low profile. Scandal sheets speculate about his activities, revolutionary student terrorists hope to kidnap him, and Toraya is determined to find and seduce him as part of a plot to
avenge herself on his father. Blithely unaware of these goings-on, Riza meets Sexi in a discotheque, and they fall head over heels for one another. Needless to say, the course of their love--true though it is--does not run smooth.
What gives the film its revolutionary twist is the breadth of its definition of love. LABYRINTH OF PASSION's sexual landscape is a virtual catalogue of erotic possibility, a pop paean to a multiplicity of forms and desires. Old and young, fat and thin, beautiful and homely pair off and break up
according to the whims of outrageous fortune, paying little, if any, attention to conventional notions of appropriate coupling. And in the end, all's well that ends well--an optimistic message delivered with sophisticated, satirical bite.
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- Released: 1982
- Rating: NR
- Review: Made in 1982, but released in the US in 1990 following the success of WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, Pedro Almodovar's LABYRINTH OF PASSION is a screwball sex comedy set in a world of unorthodox and baroquely intertwined personal relationships… (more)