Pedro Almodovar's breathless farce seems like a throwback to his early comedies, displaying none of the outward seriousness that entered his work with The Flower of My Secret
(1995) and grew steadily more prominent thereafter. But the cheery tone is deceptive—the film is as thoughtful a meditation on death as anything he's done. It takes place on a commercial jet traveling from Madrid to Mexico City; when the pilots discover a technical problem that might cause the plane to crash, the male flight attendants (a trio of flamboyant cabaret queens) react by passing out drugs and turning first-class into a bacchanal. The party in the sky comes to represent Almodovar's faith in the power of imagination, which allows us to transcend even the most horrifying tragedies. In Spanish with subtitles.
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