We are sadly too used to Hollywood making big-budget remakes of successful independent European films which inevitable end up as poor shadows of the original and fail at the box office. e.g. the French ‘Anthony Zimmer‘ that became the big Angelina Jolie dud ‘The Tourist‘. However in the case of the Spanish sex comedy ‘Kiki’ helmed by Paco León, he adapted ‘The Little Death‘, one of the few Australian movies ever to be translated into a language other than English, and the thankfully result is as funny as the original.
Kiki, Love to Love, is a collection of five very loosely connected stories that involve some bizarre sexual perversions and fetishes that Leon mines for their comic aspect to ensure we do not take them too seriously. Natalia (Natalia de Molina) confesses to boyfriend Alex (Álex García) that when she was recently held up at knifepoint she was completely sexually aroused. This is evidently called harpaxophilia (a real condition according to Webster’s dictionary), and Alex wanting to be the perfect lover, sets up a scenario to enact this, which sadly goes very wrong.
In the second story, Leon plays one half of the married couple Paco and Ana (Ana Katz) whose visit to a therapist for advice on how to shake up their stale sex life doesn’t work at all. Then when they are visited by Paco’s old friend Belen (Belén Cuesta), she persuades them to pay a visit the Sex Club where she works and Paco gets involved in some consensual peeing with another man, whilst Ana discovers that she really likes being hit on by Belen.
Middle-aged Antonio (Luis Callejo) and his wife Maria (Candela Peña) have been trying to conceive for such a long time that sex has not just become a boring chore, and she longer has orgasms which her doctor says are essential if she wants to get pregnant. Then one day after Antonio receives bad news and is very tearful, Maria is surprised to find that the sight of him crying is a big turn on for her. This is evidently called dacryphillia. The only trouble is that she now has to keep finding ways of upsetting enough to make him weep so that she can be sexually satisfied.
Plastic surgeon Jose Luis (Luis Bermejo) hasn’t had sex with his wheelchair bound wife Paloma (Mari Paz Sayago) for years and is very frustrated. When he accidentally drugs her and she falls into a very deep sleep, he has the best sex of his life and starts his fixation with somnophilia.
The final storyline (also used in the LGBT short Middle Man) is about Sandra (Alexandra Jiminez) a neurotic switchboard operator who has to translate for a deaf man who he patches through to an online sex-worker and then has to carry on a very explicit conversation on his behalf.
Leon’s highly amusing movie contains some really brilliant comic touches and he seems to be greatly inspired by some of the early works of Pedro Almodovar. His casting is spot on and Leon draws some excellent performances even from the minor figures in the story such as Maite the maid who watches her employer Jose Luis up to his tricks so that she can blackmail him to get what turns her on. Leon portrays the fetishes as if they are the norm for everyday life, and only really hints at the under-current of stress that each of these characters these For a ‘sex-comedy’ the content is very chaste as if he really wanted to ensure that the movie didn’t get an adults only rating, which seems to have paid off, as it has become one of Spain’s biggest box office hits of the year.