Sunday, January 10, 2021

Approximation

Peppermint Frappé (1967) - Saura Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 10.51.18 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 10.58.19 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.24.31 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.28.17 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.33.27 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.34.32 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.45.12 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.54.39 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.56.40 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.58.13 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 11.59.00 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-09 at 12.08.26 PM
Geraldine Chaplin plays double roles in Carlos Saura's deliciously perverse Peppermint Frappé. A repressed radiologist Julián (José Luis López Vázquez) zooms in on his childhood friend, Pedro's young coquettish young blonde wife Elena (Chaplin). Convinced that they've met before, Julián can't help but obsessing over flirtatious and outgoing Elena.

While Elena's teasing continues, Julián moves in on his introverted brunet assistant Ana (also played by Chaplin). It is precisely because Ana's resemblance to Elena that Julián seduces her, to approximate her to his sexual obsession.

Dedicated to his idol Buñuel, the film's surrealism and Catholicism's grip on Spain, satire on bourgeoisie are all on display: Pedro and Julián grew up in a health retreat run by Julián's aunt who was a nun. They kept themselves busy by looking through the keyholes to satiate their raging hormones. It was Pedro who was always a dominant one. Driving a sports car with young blonde wife, Pedro still dominates the square Julián to this day. What's worse, Elena, a teaser with a mean streak, relentlessly plays with Julián's emotions and plays pranks on him with Pedro. Something's gotta give.

Peppermint Frappé closely resembles Vertigo in its sexual obsession and perverted desire of replacing unattainable with its approximation. A woman's identity is something Buñuel also plays with in his last film That Obscure Object of Desire which would make a fine triple feature.

Chaplin is quite enchanting in playing the double role. I might have to binge on some more Saura/Chaplin combo.

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