“Bambola” is the first in a trilogy of pics about women’s power over men being made by Luna in each of the three co-producing countries. Next up is the big-budget French period piece “The Titanic Chambermaid,” shooting in January with Italian model-turned-actress Monica Bellucci. A modern reworking of “Carmen” will follow in Spain later in 1997.
Her name is Mina, but she is called Bambola (doll). Upon the death of her mother, she and her homosexual brother, Flavio, open a pizzeria. A man named Ugo loans Bambola the money, but is then killed in a fight with another one of her boyfriends, Settimio. While visiting Settimio in jail, she meets a sadistic man named Furio, and they begin a relationship.
Bámbola is a darkly funny, bursting with erotic joie-de-vivre outing from the always irreverent Catalan filmmaker. Bigas Luna is one of those ‘earthy’ directors who doesn’t shy away from exploring the darker areas of the mind – and repressed sexuality is a recurring theme in many of his films.
The story is set in a remote fishing village in Italy, where Mina aka Bambola runs a trattoria with her gay brother Flavio. During an aqua park visit they meet a pretty guy and both start to flirt with him. The guy falls for Valeria but soon enough ends up in prison for ‘accidentally’ killing her fiancée. Furio – a fellow prisoner, is the top dog there, and when he sees Valeria for the first time, decides she should only be his. When her lover in prison refuses to let go of Valeria to Furio, he arranges for some guys to rape him. He then blackmails Valeria into having a ‘conjugal visit’ with him, otherwise threatening more physical harm for her poor lover.