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TORREMOLINOS 73

An encyclopedia salesman turns amateur pornographer turns Ingmar Bergman wanna-be in Pablo Bergerís endearing debut. Itís 1973 Spain, and plump, balding, world-weary Alfredo (Javier Cámara, the lovelorn nurse in Pedro Almodóvarís Hable con ella) is hawking encyclopedias door to door with diminishing success while trying not to hear the alarm thatís going off on the biological clock of wife Carmen (Candela Peña). In an offer that seems to solve both their lack of money and their lack of a baby, Alfredoís suave boss, Don Carlos (Juan Diego), gives the couple an opportunity to help with his new venture, "World Encyclopedia of Reproduction," which turns out to be less ethnographic sex study and more homemade porn project marketed to Scandinavia. Alfredo discovers a passion for directing, Carmen sheds her inhibitions, and both become eager, if awkward, participants. Their naïveté charms; what theyíre up to never feels filthy. Carmen doesnít get pregnant, and Alfredo does get bitten by the Bergman bug. But even as matters turn serious, the levity remains. And Alfredo gets to make the film he wants, both ode to and spoof of The Seventh Seal ó excepting the final scene. In Spanish with English subtitles. (91 minutes)

BY NINA MACLAUGHLIN

Issue Date: May 6 - 12, 2005
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