28 March 2014 | mvanhoore
Reviewing a film is also reviewing the period that a movie was made. And besides that it also said something about the reviewer himself. Laberinto de Pasiones was made in 1982. All kind of taboos were already broken in the late sixties and seventies by directors like Pasolini, Verhoeven en Peckinpah to name just a few. In Spain the situation was different. Until 1975 the country was a dictatorship under General Franco, a strict Roman Catholic. Censorship was common and Spain missed the cultural changes the rest of Western Europe made completely. So when Spain turned into a democracy after the death of Franco the new freedom people enjoyed led to a period in culture where all boundaries were explored. In Laberinto de Pasiones a lot of things are shown which wouldn't be possible under the regime of Franco. Homosexuality, nymphomania and incest are just a few of the practices shown in this film.
Of course I was aware of the films by Aldomovar, I have seen Todo Sobre Mi Madre and Hable Con Ella which are excellent movies made by a mature director who understands human nature and is possible to combine drama with humor. I have also seen Atame! which shows the exploration of the sexual behavior of humans more than his later works. But I wasn't really prepared for the overflow of sexual perversions which is Laberinto. Aldomovar provokes here and he is exaggerating. Victims are the plot and the acting. As a viewer you're completely lost in about thirty story lines about people whose only purpose in life seems to be to fulfill their sexual obsessions. The mood of the film has most in common with the kind of movies that are not shown on IMDb, seventies porn flicks and that is not a compliment to this film. It all looks very amateurish to me. On the contrary the movie is not without humor. The scene in the music venue were Aldomovar himself sings a song in drag is really hilarious and probably the highpoint of the film. And it is special to see a young Antonio Banderas as a gay special agent, a role he wouldn't consider these days.
So Laberinto de Pasiones is probably an important film to free Spain from some boundaries in their cultural mindset but that doesn't make it a good film. Mediocre acting, a ramshackle plot and the mood of a porn movie prevents this from being an early hint of greatness of this director.