Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Role Play

 La Madriguera (1969) - Saura

Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 10.48.37 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 10.59.53 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 11.56.09 AM Screen Shot 2021-01-12 at 11.56.38 AM Industrialist Pedro (Per Oscarsson)'s life is work, coming home to his ultra modern concrete and glass house, saying how tired he is and going to sleep. His young wife Teresa (Geraldine Chaplin) has some deep seeded issues from her childhood (her parents died in a plane crash), attached to her old furniture and suffers from nightmares and sleepwalking. Their childless marriage of 5 years is not going well. After indulging her in daddy issues and reliving her childhood in role playing, the couple goes into a full self-isolation - sending maids home and literally drawing curtains to the outside world, even pretending to be not home when their gossipy couple friends stop in with their children in tow. Pedro and Teresa engage in elaborate role-playing where he is Richard, Teresa's childhood sweetheart, a father of Teresa, and a St. Bernard dog saving sleeping beauty in a blizzard. Teresa is always a young girl, often dressed in Tartan miniskirts like a school uniform. But when it comes to real fantasy, like dressing in sexy black dress and lingerie, she refuses to consummate. After one such role-playing game, they end up in a maid's room with pictures of movie stars on the wall. And it seems they can only express their innermost thoughts, even class-consciousness, when they are playing a role. But their full-blown adult play game is obviously destined to end badly. Again, like a bourgeois satire of Buñuel, La Madiguera portrayal of upper-class decadence, contrast of old and new in the Franco era Spain is biting. Yet the portrayal of these couple by Oscarsson and Chaplin are deeply human and nuanced. This is a great film.

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