Movie Review: El Calentito

El Calentito

Las Sioux

Director: Chus Gutierrez

Starring: Veronica Sanchez, Juan Sanz, Lluvia Rojo

Spanish release: 2005

I saw this movie at San Francisco’s Frameline last week at the Castro Theater. Frameline is San Francisco’s annual lesbian, gay, queer and transgender film festival. (There’s hardly anything addressing a bisexual audience.) An organ player rose up from a pit in front of the screen and entertained the audience just before the showing.

I don’t go to the theater much. Tickets are expensive and i feel bad when i see a movie that sucks. Movies that i do go to el cine for: those with great visuals and/or when music is an important part of the story.

It’s 1981 and nightclub scene in Spain is shaking as people find themselves freer to express their individuality, a quality long suppressed under Franco’s dictatorship. El Calentito is one site of rebellion, where youth party to punk rock, score hits, and well, score. But not Sara. She lies plastered on the floor of the restroom after witnessing her boyfriend making out with another woman. Rescued by Carmen, one of Las Siux, an all-women punk rock band one singer short of a trio, Sara is convinced to fill in at a record label meeting. You pretty much can guess what happens for the rest of the movie – except for some characters’ reactions to martial law when military fascists stage a coup.

El Calentito reminds me of an Almodóvar movie, but with fewer plot twists. Chatty transexuals? Check. Lesbian/gay side character? Check. Controversial Catholic sexual imagery? Check. Linear plot, unimaginative lyrics, a few tired metaphors; but historically interesting and very high energy, El Calentito is a good popcorn sort of movie. It just might have you jumping up and shouting “¡Libertad!”

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