Peppermint Frappé

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Peppermint Frappé
Peppermint Frappé film poster.jpg
original poster
Directed by Carlos Saura
Produced by Elías Querejeta
Written by Carlos Saura
Rafael Azcona
Angelino Fons
Starring José Luis López Vázquez
Geraldine Chaplin
Music by Luis de Pablo
Cinematography Luis Cuadrado
Edited by Pablo G del Amo
Release dates 9 October 1967
Running time 92 minutes
Country Spain
Language Spanish

Peppermint Frappé is a 1967 Spanish psychological thriller directed by Carlos Saura, starring Geraldine Chaplin and José Luis López Vázquez. The story centers on a man who becomes obsessed with the wife of an old friend believing her to be a mysterious drummer that he once fell in love with at a festival. He pursues her only to be rebuffed multiple times.

Plot[edit]

A pair of hands meticulously crops images from a fashion magazine for a personal scrapbook. The hands belong to an unassuming and conservative physician named Julian. He runs a radiology clinic from his personal residence, assisted by a shy, mild mannered nurse named Ana.

One afternoon, Julian is invited to the house of the mother of his friend Pablo, where a reunion of the two childhood pals has been arranged. Pablo is a charismatic and sophisticated adventurer who has recently returned from Africa with the unexpected news that he has married a beautiful and carefree young woman named Elena. Pablo hands Julian a drink, his favorite cocktail, peppermint frappe, as the group awaits the entrance of Elena, who is upstairs dressing. The sight of the captivating Elena visibly stuns Julian, as Elena reminds him of a mysterious woman he had seen beating drums during the famous Holy Week ritual in the village of Calanda. She insists that she has never seen him before, nor has she ever been to Calanda. Despite her rebukes, Julian finds himself immediately drawn to Elena's cosmopolitan demeanor.

During the days following their first encounter, Julian becomes increasingly infatuated with Pablo’s bride and finds pretext to spend time with her. While Pablo is busy, Julian takes Elena sightseeing Cuenca. Despite her indifference to his attentions, Julian’s obsession with Elena does not diminish. Frustrated by his inability to win Elena's affection, Julian turns his attention to his laboratory assistant, Ana, who has secretly pined for Julian. A sexual liaison between the two is soon established. Julian manipulates Ana, coercing her to dress and groom herself like Elena does.

While involved with Ana, Julian continues to pursue the elusive Elena, but she resists his advances with open derision. Julian invites Pablo and Elena to his cottage on the countryside to spend the weekend. He takes them on a tour of the grounds of the abandoned spa where he and Pablo used to play as children.

After a practical joke by Pablo and Elena, aimed at humiliating Julian, Julian begins to plan an elaborate revenge against the couple. Picking up Elena’s curiosity about his relationship with Ana, Julian invites Elena and Pablo to join him and Ana in his country house.

Before Pablo and Elena arrive, Julian places what appears to be poison in a decanter containing peppermint frappe. When Pablo and Elena arrive, Julian tells them that Ana will be a little late and offers them the beverage. After a few sips, the couple begins to ridicule Julian once again. When they succumb to the poison, Julian carries their bodies to their car which he causes to roll off a cliff, giving the appearance that the couple had died in an automobile accident. Returning to his country house, Julian finds Ana now dressed as the woman of Calanda. The film ends as the two embrace.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film was Saura first significant commercial success.[1] Peppermint Frappé won the Silver Bear for Best Director award at the 18th Berlin International Film Festival.[2] It was listed to compete at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival,[3] which was canceled due to the events of May 1968 in France.

Analysis[edit]

The film uses Julian's obsession with the blonde, English-speaking woman to illustrate Spain's suppressed fascination with the "foreign" West as well as repressed desires under the nationalist and isolationist regime of Francisco Franco. Furthermore the film is an examination of repression and obsession during Franco era Spain.[4] Additionally, the character of Julian's nurse, also played by Chaplin, serves as an interesting example of how a passive feminine character can come to control a more assertive chauvinist by manipulating his desires. In Peppermint Frappé, a single actress and a handful of motifs create a chain of associations whose stylistic sophistication belies the seeming simplicity of the film’s linear plotline.[5] Saura intended for the film to be an homage to his mentor, director Luis Buñuel, who was from Calanda.

DVD release[edit]

Peppermint Frappé is available in Region 2 DVD in Spanish without English subtitles. There is no Region 1 DVD available.

References[edit]

External links[edit]