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Amor idiota
Amor idiota (2004)
  • Director:
    Ventura Pons
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Lluís-Anton Baulenas,Ventura Pons
  • Cast:
    Santi Millán,Mercè Pons,Marc Cartes
  • Time:
    1h 44min
  • Year:
Pere-Lluc has a certain tendency to reflect upon his personal situation with irony and scepticism, though tinged with (sometimes black) humor; his actions are chaotic, excessive, out of control: the result of the crisis he is going through. One night, heading home drunk, hits his head on the aluminum ladder a girl is using to hang banners from the streetlights. He falls to the ground and, slightly dazed, is mesmerized by the girl. As the days go by, he becomes more and more obsessed with her. She tortures him. We witness the story of his tormenting passion in his efforts to win her love.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Santi Millán Santi Millán - Pere-Lluc
Mercè Pons Mercè Pons - Jordina
Marc Cartes Marc Cartes - Àlex
Jordi Dauder Jordi Dauder - Benet
Gonzalo Cunill Gonzalo Cunill - Nicco
Andrea Fantoni Andrea Fantoni - Vera
Cayetana Guillén Cuervo Cayetana Guillén Cuervo - Sandra
Héctor Mas Héctor Mas - Ajudant
Pere Tomàs Pere Tomàs - Marit
Xavi Fernández Xavi Fernández - Hostaler
Maria Lanau Maria Lanau - Noia radical
Carmen Turpin Carmen Turpin - Noia ocasional #1
Heidi García Heidi García - Noia ocasional #2
Sophie Evans Sophie Evans - Noia ocasional #3
Roger Casamajor Roger Casamajor - Dissenyador

Amor idiota (2004)
Pere is an idiot, but he is aware about it and acts in consequence. His life is totally boring and he doesn't know how to change it. When his last friend, Nicco, dies. He feels totally empty and he decides to go out to become drunk. When he is returning home, he crashes with a girl that puts advertisements. Although she ignores him, he fells in love and starts to follow her, obsessively. Well the beginning of the film is a bit slow, and can result boring for most people. However, as action begins, it is a little better (not much!, maybe, the best part is the 5 minutes of sex (almost 30 different scenes about it) that you can see in the middle of the movie; it is not good for the erothism, but for the funny and unexpected that is the scene. Probably it is the best of the film. Neither the actors nor the directing is good, and the results is a boring film that that can result funny for some people (not for me). All the film is based on absurd situations (idiot, as the film says), that have anything interesting. I like Ventura Pons, but I have to admit that this is not one of his best films (maybe his worst!), he knows to do it better.
I wonder if previous contributors watched the dubbed mono-lingual Castilian version rather than the original bi-lingual version (subtitles available on the DVD). I have always mistrusted dubbed films, because the dubbing voice always betrays and frequently contradicts the characters, and at times even the actor (it is said that when Humphrey Bogart visited Madrid, fans believed he was a look alike sent to Spain because the pitch of his voice did not match his dubbed Spanish voice). As mentioned by previous post the Castilian dubbed version is painful to watch, saw it last night on International TVE.es. But give the film the chance it deserves. I first saw the film in its original bilingual version and loved it... Under-rated, it is a delightful romantic comedy between opposites, chalk and cheese, emphasised by the Catalan-Castilian contrast of the soundtrack, which all beautifully conveys the contradictions of the relationship that defies all logic (but when was "love" logical?). Ventura Pons keeps us wondering how will this boy-meets-girl will end. Without discussing the implicit details of regional identities and stereotypes, or the tradition of Calderón's sword and dagger plays, where intelligent girls win their inept and incompetent galanes (The House with Two Doors, The Phantom Lady, My Lady First and Foremost, etc), this film has much to offer if only the original version is viewed. The characterisation works. And indeed, Ventura Pons so often manages to stretch his spectators' preconception to see relationships in a different light. And if you do eventually enjoy the story of this looser, who does find a girl, try "O ano da carracha / El año de la garrapata", Jorge Coira's first film –recommended to me in 2005 by the salesman at the DVD counter of the Corte Inglés in Santiago de Compostela, one of the most informed cinephiles I have ever met.
Although the actors do a convincing job playing the losers that parade across the screen, the fact that these characters are impossible to identify with had me looking at my watch a mere 20 minutes into the film (and more than once after that). The plot development is disjointed and slow, the verbal diarrhoea of the main character's only friend is practically insufferable, the base quality of most of the characters actions and the cavalier way in which they are treating is annoying.

It is typical of Ventura Pons to put forth crass psychologically handicapped characters. However, this faux sociological analysis is a big step down from CARICIAS or Caresses, where the characters maltreat and despise each other for well founded reasons that play out during that film. In AMOR IDIOTA we are forced to follow the meanderings of a truly subnormal intelligence as he stalks a severely depressed and detached woman. Supposedly this is due to his own depression but the script doesn't support that. I won't give away the rest of the story just in case there are any masochists out there… Is he cured through his obsession or is the woman shocked out of her own depression through his unwavering attention? Even though I watched the whole thing I wasn't made to care even for a moment about either of them.

If you can sit through all this prejudice, ignorance, betrayal, BAD dialogue, flimsy philosophy, etc… the camera-work was pretty good and seems to be something inspired by the DOGMA group. The makeup also seemed to aim at showing these players in a raw and gritty light as it is the worst I've seen Cayetana Guillen Cuervo in any of her movies (while in person she is actually attractive).

I suppose if the idea is that we should be forced to see the lower strata of society so we can be grateful we are not part of it then Pons has achieved his objective. The barrage of nearly identical sex scenes was a proper waste of film (if the actors had been filmed but once in blue green clothing the background behind them could have been changed in the special effects studio for a pittance). True that I heard much of the male audience squirm in their seats during this but an objective viewing proves that was not the real aim of those scenes.

Save yourselves and watch something else.
Leave it to geniuses like Ventura Pons, the Spanish director, to convince the higher ups in his country to subsidize this misguided attempt of a film. The sad state of the film industry in that country is a product of trying to make a film out of such thin material. Most of the pictures that are made in Spain fall under two categories: those about the Spanish Civil War, that love to present past history as the writers deem fit. The other type of films show the viewer with a lot of gratuitous sex because the 'creators' don't have anything interest to say.

As the film opens we get to watch Pere's penis as he attempts to cut it off and place it in one of the platters at a party. Later on, Sandra will show all she has been given for the audience to admire. The story of Pere's attraction to Sandra, a married woman that seems to be happily married, is false from the start.

Our only interest in watching the film centered on an earlier, better made picture by Mr. Pons, "Amic/Amat", but alas, it has nothing to do with the mess we are punished to watch in this venture. As far as the comments submitted in IMDb, all the negative votes come from Spanish viewers, which speaks volumes coming from them!
Pere-Lluc is a man unsatisfied by ordinary life. In his mid-thirties and drifting through an existence devoid of meaning, he passes his days a slave to his instincts, aware of the consequences reckless abandon brings, but entirely unmotivated by reason or common sense. A chance encounter with the striking and married director of an advertising firm one evening suddenly gives his life purpose, as he pursues her with a desperate licentiousness - aware of the consequences, but a slave to animal instinct. Inevitable misunderstandings ensue, but Pere-Lluc cannot fight his instincts - he must have the object of his desire, even if it means suffering pain and humiliation to get it.

With 'Amor Idiota', I find myself challenged to pin down the point writer Lluís-Anton Baulenas and director Ventura Pons were trying to make: 'stalking - you'd pretty much have to', perhaps? There are certainly strong indicators that the more well-trodden message of love, wandering, and sunsets will lift us through the chaotic waters of emptiness and self-loathing is the principal message. Unfortunately, the characters designed to illustrate this ideal are painted far too shallow to make any of their actions believable, let alone convince the viewer of the ending that results almost in spite of their actions. Their maladjusted behavior and fatalistic philosophies, which form much of the film's dialogue, are ultimately squandered as a result. It's interesting in turn how hard the script attempts to apologise for its lead character's impulses, with Pere-Lluc being highly self-aware of his 'idiocy', as though the idea that someone unfulfilled by ordinary life is horribly wrong - clearly they must be social refuse.

'Idiocy' here is almost a misused euphemism - acting upon impulse alone suggests a lack of intelligence, yet in human terms this does not make the principal characters stupid, merely self-centred, driven to depression and frustration by the ticking clock and their inability to subscribe to society's expectations of where they should now be in their thirties. I can easily sympathise with anyone who finds themselves in this position, yet because the dramatis personae in 'Amor Idiota' are drawn in such unsympathetic and antisocial ways, this entire avenue of middle-aged social commentary is bulldozed to rubble within the first few minutes, the remaining debris atomised by the stunning cowardice or perhaps cornball mismatch (I can't decide which) of the ending.

Yet the whole misadventure did not leave me bored, perhaps because its silliness kept me guessing. Somehow, I felt compelled to find out where Pons was going with all his maltreated philosophy, and would Pere-Lluc have evolved as a person now that stalking had given his life meaning? I wasn't best pleased with the result. The film's unpleasant characters and grotesque discourse compelled me despite myself, curious to see how it would all come to a head, but the finale made me feel an idiot for watching.

The unsurprising standouts of the cast itself are Santi Millan, whose portrayal of the bored, intellectual sleaze Pere-Lluc is right on the money, assuming that this was the intent. I probably saw a bit more of his genitals than I would have liked - that they are symbolic of Pere-Lluc's surrender to his animal instincts is more desirably clear through the several thousand lines of dialogue stating this point. Cayetana Guillén Cuervo provides an interesting contrast, with the character of Sandra slowly revealing the many layers of her troubled personality to the point where she fits right in with the rest of the gang of misfits. With Pere-Lluc baring all that he is from the beginning, this peeling of the onion provides a welcome and necessary contrast given the ultimate similarity of the leads.

While I'm not a devotee of the romance genre, I can't help feeling that it's so over-mined that the sub-oeuvre of 'misfits in love' itself is bound to have been explored to better gain elsewhere. Whether Ventura Pons will have been discovered to have been deeply misunderstood is something for future ages to ponder. For now though, 'Amor Idiota' stands as a mish-mash of valid discourse executed badly, causing at least this reviewer to wonder if he's either missed the point or been punished for thinking too deeply. Then again, the lead characters manage to achieve both without really coming to a satisfactory conclusion. That in the end, is how this Barcelona farce left me.
OK another 3 millions dollars toss to dump,in any Spanish movie its necessary put sex,no matter if its a drama,a comedy,a preteen movie,etc etc,you must put any sex scene,but in this movie is too much, the movie its about a jerk who says himself that is a jerk,OK the following 103 minutes of the movie its about jerks ideas of the main actor and about 20 sex scenes,but the main problem of this film ,its too boring,too cheap,and stupid characters(if you see a unknown man at your homes garden, you normally call to police,in Spain you can drink about 8 glasses of Geneva and still driving,)and Its recommended for those that had insomnia or want to see Barcelona on night..
This movie's radical because has got a lot of sex scenes. Ventura Pons doesn't know what to do: he doesn't know what to tell us with his new movie. Always the same story, between 2 characters and their obsessions.

This movie's the story of Pere (Santi Millán) that falls in love of Sandra (Cayetana Guillén Cuervo). Between they will appear the obsession, and after, the love. The only think I liked of the movie was that I watched more than 10 sex scenes without close my eyes. What a lovely movie! The performances are good, but not great. Cayetana is the best of the movie, because Millan does bad.

I think Ventura Pons wanted to show us the intimacy of this two people. Good Intimacy with 18 sex scenes.

My rating: 5