Hermits Rock

Go to content Go to navigation

Sin noticias de Dios

As these things tend to go, the Spanish title is much better than the English: Don’t Tempt Me. Not because Anglo’s are cretins, though in this movie they certainly are, but because of the old dictum traductore traditore. There is no news of God in this movie…

It’s not a great film…but it’s decent enough. Once I tell you the premise you will assume you know the film…and you may be right…but it has its humor. A washed up boxer, one more fight and he will die, is fought over by two angels: yes, yes the good one and the bad one, an angel from heaven and an angel from hell…and both, I suppose are sexy. But it has its moments. (I will refrain from giving away all the funny bits, should anyone want to see it. Though, they would be better off watching Huit Femme, which also stars the lovely and elegant Catherine Deneuve.)

In the first five minutes, five languages are spoken: French, Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Chinese. And the movie makers don’t much care if you know what they are saying or not. They expect you to know at least the three main languages of the film. The one Chinese phrase, after all, is mainly in there for the aural gag.

Heaven is a black and white, 1940’s Paris. Where, yes, French is the lingua franca. Catherine Deneuve is Maria D’Angelo, the movie’s arch-angel. The messenger they send down to earth is Victoria Abril and a heavenly diva who sings show tunes and jazz standards to a room full of tuxedoed men. Yes, this is the same Victoria Abril who made a career of being not so saintly in such flicks as La muchacha de las bragas de oro, ¡Átame! and Entre las piernas. (I must confess I haven’t seen these movies but they reign in Spanish movie-lore…one (the girl with the golden panties) from the heady (or breasty) days of early 80’s post-Franco Spain known as the great destape…or take it off period. another, this one by almodóvar (tie me up, tie me down). and the last (between the legs))

Earth is a modern day Spain, where everybody is out of work…except the wives working as checkout girls.

Hell is a Terry Gilliam, Brazil or 12 Monkey kind of gritty prison world where English is the preferred tongue. In fact, the fun-loving dark lord, the smoldering Gael García Bernal, all pimped out in a purple satin suit and a curious, to not say atrocious, attempt at a gangster accent, is being threatened by very prim and proper Brits. The “sexy” hell’s angel is played by Penelope Cruz—or la Pene, as she is known in Spain—who has never been a favorite of mine.

Of course, the heavenly angel has to put on the sex to woo the boxer away from hell’s angel…ironically, La Pene has very little interest in the boxer, and it is hinted that she is a lesbian. Instead, she was, before death, a male gangster who pines for the day she will reach circle 10 of hell and be made a guy again.

Heaven is cast as bankrupt; hell as overflowing, but in the middle of a revolt against Satan.

Hell is a place where you become the opposite of what you were or wanted to be on earth. Thus, if you were rich you become poor; if you were a loose-living gangster you become a waitress in the pit of hell where biker boys abuse you.

It attempts to be some sort of comment on globalization…the business people are coming in and restructuring hell for maximization of their profits; they want to effect a corporate take over of hell…force heaven in to total bankruptcy. Satan knows this to be a problem, because with out heaven there is no hell…and people need free choice. Yes, that’s the message. Heaven and hell need each other so that each can go on being what they always were.