Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
For Your (Unlikely) Consideration: Paranoid Girls
Ana (short for Anita) is shocked to find
Madrid’s exclusive modeling scene is rife with sex, drugs, booze, and power
games. She might be a fashion blogger, but she is ill-equipped to deal with so
much reality. However, all this messiness might be temporary. The center of Spanish
fashion industry is shifting to Barcelona, spelling serious trouble for Diana,
the sharp-elbowed director of the Nueva Moda agency’s Madrid office. The claws
will come out in Pedro del Santo’s Paranoid
Girls (trailer here), which
is campaigning in multiple Oscar categories, including best picture and best score.
Spain chose Jon Garaño & Jose Mari Goenaga’s Flowers
as their official foreign language Oscar submission—and they were not
necessarily wrong, even though it failed to make the recently announced
shortlist. In all honesty, it is the better film. Not to be deterred, the Paranoid Girls producers and backers
decided to take matters into their own hands by launching their own long shot
campaign in virtually all categories. It really has no chance, even though
Javier del Santo’s jaunty jazz-flavored score deserves a good listen.
Fortunately, the proper paper work was submitted on his behalf.
Still, don’t hold your breath for any Oscar
love. However, if Team Paranoid gets enough screeners into enough hands, somebody
might just pick up Paranoid Girls.
Essentially, it is a straighter, trashier Almodóvar
film, featuring plenty vicarious sex and partying, held together by a
sentimental off-the-shoulders wrap.
Ana has come to the big city to pursue her
studies and fashion blogging aspirations, finding digs with Paula, a part-time
model. Paula quickly convinces the provincial innocent to start modeling with
her for Diana’s agency. Just when Ana and Paula start to click, their next
closest friend Veronica threatens to leave Diana’s stable. She has fallen hard
for Miguel, the kinky and brooding photographer of the moment who has gotten
her hooked on coke. Diana cannot afford to let either of them walk, so she
schemes accordingly. Ana and Paula will do their best to provide Veronica moral
support, while a love triangle develops between them and Paula’s sincere,
better-suited-for-Ana ex, Andrés.
It is not hard to grasp the appeal of Paranoid Girls beyond J. Del Santo’s
smoothly elegant themes. Mairen Muñoz is
appealingly earnest as Ana and Patricia Valley’s Veronica is a bombshell.
Frankly Marta Mir Martín’s Paula is a bit of a pill, but what can you expect? She pales in
comparison to Bárbara de Lema, who is great fun vamping it up and chewing the
scenery as Diana. There are also guys in this film, but you are not likely to
So good luck to Paranoid Girls. It is not Oscar caliber,
but it is a guilty pleasure. As a frothy bauble that looks and sound great, it
is likely to find more screening opportunities after awards season.
Labels: Spanish Cinema