Salted pork shanks as leitmotiv in a dark comedy about an absurd love triangle: this is what post-Franco cine is all about (food and sex). Spanish tortillas (i.e., potato omelets) are also big in this one. Director José Juan Bigas Luna's Jamón Jamón is intelligent, wry, and--despite the formulaic narrative that melodrama must essentially contain--unpredictable. At times his film exudes a certain Almodóvar flavor, but there is an edge, perhaps a heavy-handedness, to the dark humor that is either Luna's success or his downfall. The film garnered the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, after all. Try to follow: sexy Penelope Cruz (Belle Epoque) is growing up with her mother outside town on the highway, on the wrong side of the highway. Together they run a truck stop where cars and life literally race past. Cruz is in love with Jordí Molla, by whom she is pregnant. Molla's bourgeois mother, played by Anna Galiena (Being Human), thinks he can and should do better. (Of course, neither Cruz nor his mother knows of the erotic, hmm, avian interludes Molla enjoys on the side.) To save her son from the lower classes, Galiena hires Javier Bardem, a muscular, pretty man (whose regular consumption of the pork he distributes for a living has enhanced his sexual appeal) to pursue Cruz. The dark comedy finds a proper ending to the triangle in a grotesque but comedic landscape of death. This is not a cookie-cutter movie but rather one that will resonate with both your light and dark sides. After each surprise, you'll chuckle, feel guilty, and chuckle again. --Erik Macki
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