Spain, 1981 (MIFF 1991)

Director: Pedro Almodóvar

With the widespread publicity accorded his last two films, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, almost everybody knows the name of Spain's campy enfant terrible, Pedro Almodóvar.

This is Almodóvar's first feature, undertaken after making a half-dozen shorts in 8mm and 16mm, and it shows the bad boy at his baddest - before the publicity, the hype, and the fame.

Raunchy, surreal, and downright dirty at times, the film utilizes the conventions of Spanish sexploitation movies to tell the tale of Pepi, a modern Spanish woman who dresses in fifties garb, complete with adolescent pigtails and lacy dresses. She is raped by a policeman.

Linking up with her friends (members of a punk rock band), and then disguising herself as a Spanish folksinger, she sets about exacting her revenge-Shot in a characterisitic hodgepodge of visual styles (Almodóvar uses everything from intertitles to wild montage sequences), and suffused with an irreverent sense of humour, Pepi, Luci,... has been described by Almodóvar as being amoral, aggressive and disagreeable. To some it may be so, but it's also a mad, comicbook-style romp, that revels in caricature and relishes its distate for authority of any kind.

"The plot, involving a gallery of 'Almodóvarian' characters, glides over the life of pop bands, video-making, drugs, a lesbian love affiar with sado-masochistic overtones and a 'General Erections Contest'. Non-conformist, with a nerve that takes the permissible to the limits, Almodovar's film has been described as 'a healthy, well-intentioned punch in the nose'." - Rosa Bosch, London N.F.T,

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