Girl with the Golden Panties
|La Muchacha de Las Bragas de Oro|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vicente Aranda|
|Produced by||José Antonio Perez Giner
|Screenplay by||Vicente Aranda
Santiago San Miguel
|Based on||La Muchacha de Las Bragas de Oro
by Juan Marsé
|Music by||Manel Camp|
|Cinematography||José Luis Alcaine|
|Edited by||Alberto Torija|
|Distributed by||Morgana Films|
The plot follows a middle age man writing his memoirs. His lies are exposed by his niece while she tries to seduce him. The film was based upon the novel of the same title by Catalonian author Juan Marsé.
La Muchacha de las Bragas de Oro explores the changing nature of a former fascist, a reflection of Spain facing its past during Franco's regime. The film, a co-production between Spain and Venezuela, exhibits a sexual frankness which was off-limits in Spanish films made before 1975. The film was shot in Sitges and in Barcelona.
Luis Forest, an aging Falangist writer, has retired to Sitges to devote himself to review his past, write his memoirs and ruminate over his failed marriage. Due to a sense of guilt for his political past, aligned with the Francoist regime, he lives in virtual isolation in a large house accompanied only by his dog and Tesla, the housekeeper.
Luis isolation is suddenly interrupted by the unexpected visit of his niece, Mariana. Young and wildly carefree, Mariana arrives with the excuse to interview her uncle about the biographical book he is writing. The reportage would appear in the magazine where Mariana works with her aunt, Soledad, Luis' estranged wife. Mariana has not seen her uncle in many years and she enjoys his company. She has arrived with a mysterious silent photographer, a male friend of foreign origin, Elmyr. The young couple shake up Luis' staid world. Mariana and Elmyr have a close relationship; they argue frequently, smoke some drugs together, and it is evident that they are lovers. Spying on them Luis discover Mariana and Elmyr having sex. Elmyr paints golden panties on Mariana's naked body.
Mariana's mother calls Luis to warn him if her daughter is in the company of Elmyr, whom she describes as a drug addict with suicidal tendencies. She also tells Luis that Soledad has died unexpectedly. There is not need for him to worry about funeral arrangement since Soledad has already been buried and their four children do not want to see him.
Flashbacks, tell the story of Luis Forest when he was young. He was smitten with Mari, Mariana's mother, and her sister, Soledad. He was first courting Mari, but one dark night by the piano, he made love to Soledad thinking that it was her sister. That eventually led him to marry Soledad. Their marriage was not happy, in spite of Soledad's efforts, and she ended up leaving her husband years ago. The other sister, Mariana's mother, in a time in which she was drinking a lot, had a one-night stand with Luis. However, shortly after, she married, José Maria Tey, Luis' close friend.
The past that Luis is preserving in his memoirs is more fiction than truth. He is rewriting the facts, inventing many and softening many more. His book of memoir is full of lies that his niece soon discovers when she offers him to type the manuscript. Slowly, Mariana's taunting and teasing breaks down Luis' intellectual barriers and, as that happens, she becomes more interested in him.
Elmyr is not really a man but a female friend of fragile psychology and suicidal tendencies. Both Mariana and Elmyr have male lovers who they bring to the house. One night, while Mariana is out in the town, Luis expels Elmyr from the house after he finally discovers that Elmyr is a woman. He found her naked having sex with a young man. Mariana is initially very upset with Elmyr' expulsion from the house, but she calms down knowing that Elmyr is safe in Ibiza.
Alone with her uncle, Mariana begins a game of seduction until Luis succumbs. When Mariana's mother (the writer's sister-in-law) comes to visit, worried about what he can say about her in his memoirs, it is revealed that Mariana is in fact his daughter. Luis, overwhelmed by a sense of guilt for his incestuous relationship, retires to his rooms and tries to commit suicide, but he only shoots himself in the hand. Mariana and his mother go to help him. Unashamed of the sexual relationship she had with Luis, Mariana heals her uncle-father wound.
- Lautaro Murúa as Luis Forest
- Victoria Abril as Mariana
- Hilda Vera as Mariana's mother
- Perla Vonasek as Elmyr
- Pep Munné as young Luis Forest
- José María Lana as José María Tey
- Isabel Mestres as Soledad
- Raquel Evans as Mari
- Consuelo de Nieva as Tecla
- Palmiro Aranda as the town's doctor
- Carlos Lucena as the gardener
- David Durán as David
- Mercé Sans as Luis Forest's sister
Director Vicente Aranda had hoped to make a film about the Spanish Civil War, but due to expense this project would have to wait until when he finally filmed it as Libertarias. Instead Aranda turned to the new novel by Catalonian author Juan Marsé, just out and a controversial winner of the 1979 Premio Planeta ( the Spanish Booker Prize).
La Muchacha de las Bragas de Oro was to be made cheaply in just a few interiors settings. Aranda upped the budget with money from Venezuelan producers and added exterior locations to the script, thereby allowing the film to function in terms of calculated chiaroscuro that alternates light and shadow as an illustration of the truth and lies of the protagonist.
La Muchacha de las Bragas de Oro is available in Region 2 DVD. It was released in Spain in 2015. There is no Region 1 DVD available.
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