Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom

With his 1980 feature debut, Almodóvar distills the confrontational, Rabelaisian essence of the Madrileña movement that erupted in the aftermath of the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. A grotesque comic onslaught straight from the underground, Pepi, Luci, Bom careens dizzily through a ramshackle plot about a bored stoner heiress (Carmen Maura) taking revenge on her rapist–by luring his repressed masochistic wife into the sadistic embrace of a lesbian punk diva. Garish, tawdry and cheap, the film flaunts its technical crudeness as flamboyantly as its sexual cruelty, but even at his most rough-edged, Almodóvar’s infallible eye and uncommon facility with actors show a talent quickly outgrowing the inspirations of Waters and Warhol. Like any good punk, Almodóvar is both a hopeless romantic and an unapologetic sell-out: the film’s most unexpected transgression may be a sharp turn towards the sincere, anticipating the emotional vulnerability and commercial ambition of his “mature” works.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1980, DCP, 82 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!