I’m So Excited (Los amantes pasajeros) | A testament of Spain’s la movida madrileña

i'm so excited movie posterI’m So Excited is every frame a Pedro Almodóvar film (Talk to Her, Volver, The Skin I Live In): bizarre characters are painted in warm, luscious hues; politically incorrect dialogue are infused with a hint of cheerful irreverence. This saucy Spanish comedy revolves around three gay stewards, two bisexual pilots and a flurry of passengers bound for Mexico.

The main narrative occurs against the backdrop of the plane interior itself. When the landing gear of Peninsula Flight 2549 malfunctions, sexual tensions escalate and inhibitions are shed in tandem with the knowledge of impending death and doom.

We meet the trio of raging queens Joserra (Javier Cámara of Talk to Her), Fajas (Carlos Areces ) and Ulloa (Raúl Arévalo), chief pilot and Joserra’s married lover Alex, his co-pilot and one-night-stand Benito. Seven passengers venture in-and-out of the cramped and narrow-spaced cockpit to interrupt this nervous dynamic. Hyper sensitive virgin psychic Bruna (Lola Dueñas) reacts to her powers of ESP and detects the “smell of death” in certain parts of the plane. Norma (Cecilia Roth), a demanding corporate highflyer in business class has mysterious connections to the oligarchs of Spanish society; she fears the malfunction is an assasination attempt to bury the secrets she knows as a high-end dominatrix. A mysterious and nameless Infante, scandalous middle-aged celebrity Ricardo, troubled husband and father Sr. Más and a pair of dopey, drug smuggling newly weds occupy the rest of Flight 2549’s fuselage.

Attempts to communicate with family and loved ones ground below are made possible by the only cabin handset that functions — but conversations can be heard over the PA system. This narrative device connects passengers in the plane to various characters on the ground; thus giving shape to back stories that serve to stress and accentuate the panicky mood unfolding within the plane.

This latest offering by Almodóvar is an unbridled, satirical film with flashes of political and sexual humour. In many ways, I’m So Excited is a valuable testament to the hedonistic cultural wave of La Movida Madrileña (the famous Spanish 80s) where freedom of expression, transgression of taboos imposed by the Franco Regime, use of recreational drugs all exist to celebrate a new spirit of freedom in the streets of Madrid.

Far from existing in a farcical vacuum, it would be prudent to consider the historical undertones in this excellent film — it is a subtle reminder of how far the Spanish identity has since evolved in post-Franco years.

★★★

LANGUAGE IN SPANISH

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