Dec 13, 2011

Perdita Durango

Before becoming the king of international Spanish-Language cinema, a relatively unknown Javier Bardem played the lead role of Romeo Dolorosa – a cracked character with most likely the most hideous haircut in cinema history – in the criminally underrated film Perdita Durango (1997) aka Dance with the Devil directed by Álex de la Iglesia (The Day of the Beast, The Last Circus); a film based on the Barry Gifford's novel 59° and Raining: The Story of Perdita Durango. Gifford’s ultra-venomous femme fatale character Perdita Durango made her first cinematic appearance in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart (1990) and was originally portrayed by the beautiful Swedish/Italian actress Isabella Rossellini. Upon first discovering that beady-eyed Afro-Puerto Rican actress Rosie Perez played Perdita Durango in Perdita Durango, I was more than a tad bit disappointed. After all, few actresses can level up to the hypnotic beautiful insanity of Rossellini’s performances, especially someone as seemingly unappealing as the woman who played Spike Lee’s bitchy Baby Momma in Do the Right Thing (1989) yet Perez, like Bardem, manages to give a performance that is nothing short of fully artistically committed and stripped (both literally and figuratively) in Perdita Durango. In the film, Bardem and Perez star as the Hispanic equivalent of Bonnie and Clyde, the main difference being that the leading man’s sexual potency is fully intact and that he is a Santeria witch doctor. Showing their undying commitment to meszito pride, the loco Latino couple kidnaps a young bourgeois WASP couple and uses them as their own personal sexual playthings. Despite their instinctive proclivity towards psychopathic criminality, Romeo Dolorosa and Perdita Durango – like their killer couple forebears Bonnie and Clyde – are extremely likeable anti-heroes whose charisma and charm is only rivaled by their moral instability. As one would expect from a film directed by Spanish auteur Álex de la Iglesia, Perdita Durango is as carnivalesque as a Fellini film and as sardonically (yet sillily) surreal as a work by Jodorowsky and Buñuel, but assembled in a more cohesive and linear manner, thus making the film accessible to both cultural philistines and snobbish cinephiles alike. 

On top of all the cross-genre and thematic insanity of the work, Perdita Durango also features macabre Negro singer Screamin' Jay Hawkins as a spooky Santeria spook that certainly "puts a spell on you" despite his somewhat brief appearance in the film. Naturally, Perdita Durango also features music by Screamin' Jay Hawkins which – like the musical score by Simon Boswell – compliments the overall vivacious and equally visceral feel of the film. Perdita Durango also features an underweight James Gandolfini as a Drug Enforcement Administration officer who has a knack for getting hit by cars like Wile E. Coyote and an ironic cameo from Brit punk auteur Alex Cox as a cop. I am not usually one to describe a film as “cool”, but Perdita Durango permeates divine derangement and subtle (and not so subtle) cultural references throughout, thus it is the kind of work that such would-be-cool contrivers like Quentin Tarantino and Oliver Stone wish they could make but lack the organic-suaveness to do so. After all, I cannot think of another film in the vein of Perdita Durango where race-based Stockholm syndrome is sexy and killing is kinky. In fact, I would go as far as saying that Perdita Durango is the ultimate action-packed cinematic “Meszito-Negro-Europid Western-spiritual” as it is a work that mongrelizes an eclectic collection of cultural, genre, and spiritual ingredients in a melting-pot that, for once, does not reek of repellant anti-cultural decay but smells like a most refined dish of the most delicious exotic and erotic kind. Needless to say, Perdita Durango is just another great example as to why Álex de la Iglesia is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – Spanish directors working today. If Luis Buñuel were alive today, I am sure he would take De La Iglesia out for some fine Spanish cuisine. 

Although I am an unwavering fan of David Lynch’s film, I must admit that De La Iglesia’s Perdita Durango is more wild at heart than Wild at Heart. Apparently, a lot of Álex de la Iglesia’s Spanish fans felt that the Perdita Burango was a "sell-out" film and that the director was pandering to mainstream North American audiences for mere monetary gain. I find such masturbatory fan-boy sentiments to be nothing short of patently absurd. When watching Perdita Durango, it feels as if Álex de la Iglesia is boisterously and jovially raping American cultural values, especially mundane white middle-class mores with his uncompromising Spaniard flare, hence the somewhat obscure status of the film in the USA. It can only be assumed that the cult following for Perdita Durango will grow steadily as the years pass as it is surely one of the most underrated films of the 1990s. Luckily, Javier Bardem has finally earned the reputation he deserves as one of the greatest actors working today, but it is still most unfortunate that few have seen his unrivaled performance as the romantic homicidal rapist loon and Herb Alpert fan Romeo Dolorosa.  Additionally, it is obvious that Rosie Perez will never again bare her derrière in a film as gloriously gory as Perdita Durango.  Although a hyperbolic work, Perdita Durgano is celluloid on speed at the peak of the high and a flick that never leaves the viewer adrift in a muddy swamp of action-packed banality.  Perdita Durgano is a lusty and lurid romance film for those that absolutely loathe romance films and for that reason alone (among many others), it must not be overlooked.

-Ty E


jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Javier Bardem (as he was when he was 12 and with a tight arsehole, not now obviously). Rosemary Perez sure is one lucky cunt. I bet her cunt smells similar to a rat-infested dumpster at an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant.

Boner Bonnie and Clyde Cunt were nothing short of sexually inverted and SEXUALLY REPRESSED maniacs who lacked the wisdom of the all-mighty-minded "THE HAMSTER" aka the middle-aged teenage pedophile prankers and all-start rampant homophile jolly wankster!

teddy crescendo said...

Rumor has it that if you go to a certain area of Wales at a certain time, jervaise brooke hamster will give you a rolla-cum-stir of a rimjob in just 7 seconds time. Da-yum, dat gay British boi is fine, like a lama with a hard-on who gives randumb reach-arounds from behind.


How did you know that teddy crescendo and jervaise brooke hamster were one and the same person ?.

A MORE FORGIVING (although still slightly peeved) jervaise brooke hamster said...

When exactly are you going to reveiw Alex De La Iglesia's "Day of the Beast" and "The Last Circus" on this site ?, they`re both supposed to be cult items par-excellence.

JonBenet (Patricia) Ramsey said...

Congratulations, once again you`ve flushed "The Hamster" down the toilet quite magnificently, although i doubt very much w-HEATHER he enjoys being accused of being a pansy queer bastard, no more than he enjoys being compared to worthless British scum like Rowan Atkinson.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

December 23rd = your reveiw of "Black Christmas" (1974).

December 25th = quite simply the most magical day of the year.

December 27th = your very special tribute to what would have been
Heathers 36th birthday.

What an amazing 5 days that promises to be ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Just with regards to those 5 days of astonishing Christmas magic, it would marvellous if you could pepper this site with your favorite images of Pauline Hickey over the Christmas period and reveiw a few other Christmas classics of your own choosing as well. Just think how magical it would be if you devote the entire 5 days to: Classic Christmas movies, Heather O'Rourke and Pauline Hickey ! ! !, this site would literally become the ONE and ONLY site to visit over the Christmas period (it is the rest of the time as well obviously but the presence of Heather and Pauline would make it even more incredible). Ty E, mAQ, i want you to think about what i`ve said, lets make Soiled Sinema THE site to visit over the Christmas period, with Heathers smile, Paulines tits and perhaps some of the greatest reveiws of great Christmas movies ever seen anywhere on the internet. That very special time of the year is fast approaching, lets make it extra special on Soiled Sinema with Pauline and Heather, cheers my old mates.

665+1 said...

this movie SHOULD have been called "Romeo Dolorosa", dammit! javier bardem's performance is so manic and ball out that i find it difficult to watch him as anyone else. so glad iglesia is back to making flicks like this one!