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I’m So Excited: Almodovar’s farce prepares Spain for a crash landing

If I’m So Excited, Pedro Almodovar’s new comedy of a grotesque ruling class, isn’t his best, that’s because the director sets the bar so high says Alan Kenny

Issue No. 2352

The cabin crew

The cabin crew


Legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodovar has made a comedy that is an allegory for economic crisis set on a plane. 

The aircraft, which is bound for Mexico, has to make an emergency landing but it is hours before they are given clearance to land at the only available runway in Spain.

Most of I’m So Excited takes place as they circle high over the Spanish city of Toledo. 

Almodovar uses the seating division of Business class and Economy class to unashamedly show us the divisions in Spanish society as unemployment rockets.

We learn that business class is full of unsavoury sorts, including the CEO of a bank. They are all immersed in webs of lies, deceit and corruption. 

They are Almodovar’s grotesque representations of the Spanish ruling class.

Three camp, gay, cabin crew are our hosts to events on the plane and they take the decision to give the whole of economy class drugs to make them sleep—because they are prone to “economy class syndrome”.

The cabin crew and the pilots drink and take drugs as they face death. This is one of the big themes of the film. 

Drink

It’s clear that Almodovar is dealing with the alienation that people feel. Their lives are out of control and drink and recreational drugs are one of the ways of coping with it. 

The director has also said that he wanted to make a film which, like some of his early comedies, celebrated the tremendous sense of freedom experienced in Spain after the death of the dictator, Franco. 

These are themes he has rarely, if ever moved away from.

Almodovar’s other great constant theme is sexuality and he also pulls no punches in examining the way that sex is distorted under capitalism. 

When the cabin crew perform The Pointer Sisters’ I’m so Excited the fear is that we’re being presented with crude stereotypes.  But he confounds this as we learn about the sexuality of the pilots. Cockpit is revealed as closet!

One of Almodovar’s great skills is in holding up a mirror to all our fears and insecurities. 

Sometimes he laughs at us but he also laughs at himself. Almodovar is a devilishly brilliant director. 

This is not one of his finest films but he sets a high bar.

And let’s face it who else would even try to pull off as audacious an idea for film?


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Reviews
Tue 7 May 2013, 18:58 BST
Issue No. 2352
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