KIKI, LOVE TO LOVE
Director: Paco León
Natalia de Molina
Screenwriters: Paco León and Fernando Pérez, based on Josh Lawson’s ‘The Little Death.’
Runtime: 102 mins
Australian release date: 29 July 2017
Previewed at: Chauvel Cinema, Paddington, Sydney, on 19 July 2017.
Based on Josh Lawson’s 2014 film The Little Death, this Spanish version of that Australian comedy moves the action from Sydney to Madrid but still tells five stories linked by the variety of sexual fetishes that turn on its protagonists. Fittingly set during a steaming hot summer, Paco Léon’s Kiki, Love To Love opened this year’s Spanish Film Festival in Australia and was a big hit in its homeland, garnering four nominations at the 2017 Spanish Academy Awards, the Goyas. And why wouldn’t it, dealing as it does with love and relationships… and did I mention, sex?
The plot revolves around a collection of erotic tales emanating from otherwise seemingly ordinary couples and the heatwave appears to be a contributor to the loco behaviour of these Madrileños as they seek to put some spark back into their sex lives. Wife Ana (Ana Katz) and husband Paco (director Léon, no less) are stuck in a rut until they take up a suggestion by a garrulous friend of Paco’s, Belén (Belén Cuesta), and go to a swingers’ club where they engage in, let’s say, what doesn’t come naturally; a beautiful young couple Álex (Álex García) and Natalia (Natalia de Molina) experience a change to their routine when Natalia reveals that she became sexually aroused during a recent robbery; José-Louis (Luis Bermejo), a middle-aged plastic surgeon, discovers an usual way to refresh his relationship with his nagging wife, Paloma (Mari Paz Sayago), but it requires the collusion of their live-in maid, Maite (Maite Sandoval); Sandra (Alexandra Jiménez), a hearing-impaired, iguana-owning woman with an obsession for certain fabrics, has a titillating encounter with a client during a video-phone sex-call; and María (Candela Peña) finds she’s inadvertently aroused when her husband Antonio (Luis Callejo) receives some bad news, and he’s not happy about it!
Under the canopy of Latino alegría, this raunchy, skew-whiff adaptation of the original seeks to emulate the veteran Spanish director of all things kinky, Pedro Almodóvar, but doesn’t totally succeed, even though Kiki, Love To Love contains a fine ensemble cast who engage impeccably with their roles. Part of the fun of The Little Death was seeing its Anglo characters squirm and struggle with their sexual predilections but somehow this feeling is ‘lost in translation’ with Léon’s version. There are some funny, outrageous moments, but there are also those that overstep the mark, becoming somewhat vulgar and crass. Maybe it’s a cultural thing but sometimes it pays to ‘beware of imitations.’