Jamón Jamón

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Jamón Jamón
Jamon, jamon.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBigas Luna
Written byCuca Canals
Bigas Luna
Quim Monzó (Dialogue)
Produced byAndrés Vicente Gómez
StarringPenélope Cruz
Javier Bardem
Jordi Mollà
Stefania Sandrelli
Anna Galiena
Juan Diego
Tomás Martín
CinematographyJosé Luis Alcaine
Edited byTeresa Font
Music byNicola Piovani
Distributed byUnited States Academy Entertainment Inc
Release date
  • 2 September 1992 (1992-09-02)
Running time
95 mins
Box office$2.5 million (Spain)[1]

Jamón Jamón (Spanish pronunciation: [xaˈmoŋ xaˈmon]; English: Ham, Ham) is a 1992 Spanish romantic tragicomedy film directed by Bigas Luna and starring Javier Bardem, Jordi Mollà and Penélope Cruz in her debut film. It centers on a young woman named Silvia (Cruz) who becomes pregnant by Jose Luis, the scion of a small but powerful underwear manufacturing empire, and the disastrous fallout of their relationship. The movie engages in word play and puns, and rhapsodises on the juxtaposition of old and new in Spain, as well as many other emotional contrasts such as erotic desire and food.[2]


In a small Spanish town on the edge of the Monegros Desert, the beautiful teenager Silvia spends her evenings making potato omelettes to sell at the factory where she works as a seamstress for the Sanson Corporation, a small but powerful mens underwear company that, along with the local Conquistador ham processing plant, serves as one of the two major local employers. Her mother, Carmen runs a local bar which doubles as a brothel, and where she herself used to work as a prostitute. Though comfortably middle class now, Carmen still carries a stigma from the townspeople for her past.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Silvia has been having an affair with José Luis, the kind but spoiled and immature heir to the Sanson empire. One day, Silvia tells him that she's pregnant and José Luis impulsively proposes to her with a soda can tab, promising to provide her with a real engagement ring once he has sought his parents' permission for marriage. Fearing disinheritance, José Luis tentatively tells his parents that he's dating Silvia without informing them of the pregnancy. His mother, Conchita, who exerts the most influence over the company, refuses to bless the union. His father Manuel bows to his mother's wishes, while also expressing sympathy for Silvia and Carmen, the latter of whom he used to frequent when she was still a prostitute.

Conchita decides to ruin José Luis and Silvia's relationship by finding a man to seduce her. She chooses Raúl, a ham delivery driver and aspiring bullfighter whom she meets when he's selected as the new Sanson model; Conchita promises the materialistic and ambitious Raúl ample reward should he succeed in his task. After Silvia repels his advances several times, Raúl becomes genuinely attracted to her and begins trying to win her affection in earnest. Meanwhile, Conchita becomes sexually obsessed with Raúl herself and the two begin an affair. When José Luis repeatedly refuses to stand up to his parents, Silvia herself begins an affair with Raúl, while José Luis seeks solace with Carmen, revealed to have been his lover before he began dating Silvia. Amidst the various affairs, Silvia begins having surrealistic dreams containing images of shepherds guiding their flocks through the desert, pigs, and images of herself kneeling nude in the desert cradling ham bones.

Learning of Silvia's betrayal, José Luis forces himself upon Silvia to avenge himself against Raúl. Desperate to keep Raúl, Conchita seduces him at the isolated ham warehouse where he works. José Luis goes to Carmen and tells her that his relationship with Silvia is over, but she refuses to rekindle their affair; a devastated José Luis goes in search of Raul. Meanwhile, Silvia, looking for José Luis, arrives at his home and encounters a departing Manuel, who makes advances on Silvia. Initially hesitant, she returns his advances.

José Luis tracks Raul down to the ham warehouse and catches him with Conchita. The two men fight using ham bones as weapons, ending with José Luis injuring Raul and Raul bludgeoning José Luis to death. Carmen, Silvia, and Manuel arrive and Silvia returns her soda can tab ring to José Luis's body before returning to Manuel; a weeping Carmen cradles José Luis's body while Conchita comforts Raul. A shepherd arrives with his flock of sheep, recreating a tableau from Silvia's dreams.



The film was shot on the Monegros desert near Zaragoza.

Much of the dialogue and imagery in the film are composed of word play and visual puns. For example, in Spanish, jamón means "ham;" not only do two characters comment that Silvia's breasts taste like ham, but, the phonetically similar jamona, which Raul calls Silvia, is Spanish slang for an unmarried woman.[3][4]


Bigas Luna won the Silver Lion at the 1992 Venice Film Festival for the film.[5]


"Házmelo otra vez" (Concha Valdés Miranda)


  1. ^ "Top 10 grossers in Spain". Variety. 4 October 1993. p. 66.
  2. ^ Ham Ham
  3. ^ Jamón, jamón Archived 2009-12-13 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Jamón Jamón review 2007-05-01
  5. ^ "Bigas Luna: acclaimed Spanish director dies at 67". BBC News. 8 April 2013.

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