Super Creeps 4 : Iberian Psycho (Slightly NSFW)

bilbao-1978

Cousin Franz Cousin Franz: More than a decade before Patrick Bateman was misusing coat hangers in Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho,” Spanish  legend Bigas Luna unleashed Leo upon Iberian cities. Leo is the meticulous, suited-up psychopath at the center of the (anti) erotic thriller “Bilbao,” one of Lunas’ earliest features. Angel Jove plays the madman who uses a continuous voice-over to allow us into his mundane life (he brushes his teeth with ritualistic conscientiousness, in alarming-yet-prosaic scenes that forecast the opening of “Dexter.”) Knowing Leo’s thoughts doesn’t mean we ever sympathize with his hostile blankness. He’s the archetypal creep, trench-coat and all, and we know this because he creates weird proto-Photoshop collages, because he’s kept by an older woman (Maria Martin), because he loves to disappear into the anonymity of department stores, and because he develops an obsession with a fetching sex worker called Bilbao (Silvia Pisano).

(Viewer discretion: NFSW Trailer)

Leo decides to kidnap Bilbao from under the nose of her pimp (perhaps he perceives this as a grand romantic gesture). This doesn’t go that smoothly (when has a kidnapping ever gone smoothly?) What follows is a much darker predecessor to Pedro Almodovar’s “Atame” (“Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down!”), which is fitting since, as far as Spanish directors go, Bigas Luna is the heterosexual, more classically rigid counterpart to Almodovar.

bilbao-19782

Father Hank Hank:  Artsy-fartsy! I never thought I would see a movie dedicate five minutes to graphic close-up pube-shaving!

Beatricia Beatricia: Soporific! I never thought I would see a movie dedicate five minutes to graphic close-up pube-shaving!

Tracey Tracey: Disturbing! I never thought I would see a movie dedicate five minutes to graphic close-up pube-shaving!

Trent Trent: AWESOME! I never thought I would see a movie dedicate five minutes to graphic close-up pube-shaving! (Also, I’m pretty sure “Bigas Luna” is Spanish for “Big Ass Moon.” Bam, “Dora the Explorer” proves useful yet again!)

Grandpa Felicius Grandpa Felicius: Generalissimo Francisco Franco died three years before “Bilbao” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1978. Judge accordingly: this movie is exemplary of that heady moment when authoritarian censorship appears to vanish, and filmmakers rush to do things no one would have thought to do before, like, say, dedicate five minutes to graphic close-up pube-shaving. Beyond that, “Bilbao” is actually operating in a very formal, Hitchcockian vein; “Rope,” “Frenzy,” and “Psycho” provide blueprints. Bigas Luna even throws in a “blood swirling down the drain” moment; a Bernard-Herrmann-esque string drone composes most of the soundtrack, when it doesn’t pause for Lotte Lenya to sing Kurt Weill’s “The Bilbao Song.”

The moral is clear: If you love a prostitute, set her free. If she runs to the authorities screaming, she was never yours.

Blurbarella: “Pedro Almodovar’s– heterosexual–?– No one would have thought–!”

3 out of 6 Cherries.

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