Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 1989o
Freshly released from a psychiatric ward, the young maniac Ricky makes a pass at the ex-porn starlet Marina, with whom he once spent a night. The ageing director of Marina's latest film also fancies her from his wheelchair, but Ricky unceremoniously kidnaps the actress to his flat in order to force her love.
After the comedy hit Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown which brought him his international breakthrough with a wide audience, Pedro Almodóvar returned to the darker realms of his early camp films about uncontrollable desires with Atamé!, telling the story of an ex-porn starlet who is besieged by an ageing director from his wheelchair and abducted to his apartment by a crazy young admirer. He cast the director with Buñuel's old star Francisco Rabal, the mad admirer with his male muse Antonio Banderas, the starlet with his new favorite Victoria Abril, who was (inevitably) rumored to have slept her way through the Spanish film industry. Even more disreputable: Almodóvar, as ever, refused to morally assess the ludicrous, sometimes violent behavior of his characters and showed a woman who submits to the regime of her kidnapper with an inscrutable mixture of cunning and lust. The result is a frenetic black comedy with detours into the thriller and melodrama, staying aloof from any sort of "political correctness". Almodóvar took up the character constellation again in 1997 and turned it into his masterpiece Carne tremula. with Rabal's grandson Liberto in the leading role.Andreas Furler