BY IRENE KARRAS
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Recently released psychiatric patient Ricky (Antonio Banderas) kidnaps drug-addicted former porn star Marina (Victoria Abril), and holds her prisoner, determined to make her love him. He kind of succeeds.
WHO’S IN IT: Antonio Banderas, in his breakout North American role, and Victoria Abril (who is very popular in Europe)
WHEN IT CAME OUT: 1990
HOW COME YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF (OR JUST SEEN) IT: Probably because you were too young. The movie was the first to receive an NC-17 rating, after its American distribution company, Miramax, went to court to get its original X rating removed. Also, it’s Spanish.
WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH IT IMMEDIATELY:
- To see Antonio Banderas at his finest in the movie that inspired Madonna, while filming Truth or Dare, to list him as the guy she most wanted to meet. This was a big endorsement at the time. They later starred in Evita together.
- The sex scene. The original X-rating marginalized the film and essentially labeled it as porn. It’s not that racy by today’s standards, but groundbreaking for the NC-17 victory.
- It’s kind of a romantic comedy. Despite its titillating title and premise, the film is really about how two weirdos can find love under strange circumstances and despite themselves.
- It’s kind of a horror movie, too. Marina is starring in a thriller in which she defeats the monster, turning the victim model on its head well before Buffy got there. It also lends some substance to her love story with Ricky, wherein she eventually becomes an active participant in their love story rather than a victim.
- It’ll up your cool quotient. Pedro Almodovar is a big deal in Europe, and some of his films have achieved great success in North America as well – including his Oscar-winning 2002 film Talk to Her.
- Despite the controversy around Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! – women’s advocacy groups understandably came out hard against the film – Almodovar is actually very female-friendly, showcasing strong, independent women in his films, and Marina, at her core, is no exception.
…Or watch the original Spanish trailer here:
Irene Karras is a Calgary-based communications consultant and freelance writer with a fondness for 1950s Greek melodramas, 1980s coming of age movies, weird Canadian films, and, by necessity, PG movies. She blogs at misplacedmysassy.wordpress.com and tweets @irene_karras.