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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.


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10th Anniversary: A SERIOUS MAN

"I have never seen a film that mixes laugh-out-loud comedy so intimately with dead serious philosophical questioning. It packs so much into its short runtime. " - Dr strange

"This movie is one of my favorites - Michael Stuhlbarg the biggest reason, he's so heartbreakingly fantastically good in everything." -Rebecca

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Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in Law of Desire (4)


Queer critics on their fav queer films

by Nathaniel R

Pedro Almodóvar and Antonio Banderas on the set of "Law of Desire"

I didn't intend to point you to yet another "best LGBTQ films" list since we've been to that well twice with an overview of online lists and then my own personal list for Pride month. Nevertheless you'll surely want to check out this article at Paste Magazine called "50+ Queer Writers, 50+ Queer Films". Our friend Kyle Turner polled dozens of critics who identify as LGBTQ asking them to share a short thought about a cinematic favourite. We were only allowed one film, so I went with Law of Desire. We were also encouraged to think broadly about what "queer" meant so a lot of the choices you'll read are atypical rather than full on G-A-Y. Head to the Paste link above to read the whole exciting thing but after the jump I'm sharing three excerpts I particularly loved, two of them from trans critics since they don't get mentioned often...

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April Showers: Antonio Banderas in "Law of Desire"

In April Showers, Team TFE looks at our favorite waterlogged moments in the movies. Here's Manuel on Law of Desire (1987).


Almodóvar is the air again due to Chus Lampreave's passing and his latest, Julieta getting solid reviews (his best since Volver). And since April is “Actor Month” here at TFE let's kill two birds with one stone by looking at a small scene featuring Antonio Banderas and Eusebio Poncela from the 1987 classic Law of Desire.

The film centers on Antonio (Banderas) and his obsessive fixation with a gay film director (Poncela). After stalking him and eventually roping his way into his life, Antonio settles on trying to shape Pablo after his own image. First, he fixes some things around Pablo’s messy apartment, including some tiles in his shower, and then, the next day he takes it upon himself to set some sort of routine for them.

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "MATADOR"

In the Hit Me With Your Best Shot Wednesday evening series we look at a pre-selected movie and choose what we each think of as its best shot. Anyone can play and we link up. (Links and next week's topic are at the end of the post.) This week, to coincide with the opening  of the Cannes film festival we thought we'd look at the one (or two) of the earliest Pedro Almodóvar / Antonio Banderas collaborations since the men are reuniting at Cannes to show off their first collaboration in two decades, The Skin I Live In (2011). I gave participants the option of either Matador (1986) or Law of Desire (1987) the films which elevated Banderas to Pedro Muse status, the only actor with a penis to hold that honor.

While Law of Desire (1987) is my all-time favorite Pedro, I chose to rescreen Matador (1986). Why? I thought this absurdist mystery about men and women who think of killing as an art form, might prove a fine companion piece to the director and star's new film, given the similarly violent and grotesque subject matter.

The title character trains new bullfighters in retirement.

So did I change my mind about Matador, my least favorite from my very favorite auteur? The answer is both No and Yes.

The opening credits of Matador seem to be challenging the audience to throw tomatoes and openly hate the movie as the title character, a retired matador named Diego (Nacho Martinez) masturbates to images of extreme violence against women. Moments later we see an explicit sex scene turn murderous. This time the corpse will be a man. All moviegoers have different levels of stamina with explicit material and I have the opposite constitution from the MPAA. Which is to say that I'm totally fine with sexually graphic imagery but I have a hard time watching people be brutalized. Pedro, a subversive artist and equal opportunity offender, is still working his way out of his "shock" phase. It's definitely a confrontational first reel but the rest of the film is much easier to watch.

The thing I forgot about Matador (I haven't seen it since... 1990?) is how completely erotic it is. Yes, all of the characters are either killers or caught up in the drama of death, but they're all horny about it.

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you will have a thousand affairs...

i doubt i doubt
that you will find as pure a love as the one you have in me.
you will have a thousand affairs
without love.
but at the end of it all
there's only pain