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Gloria – Why isn’t anybody callin’?

gloria bed scene wide

Post Velcro-rip glow
© Nephilim Producciones

This Chilean feature has an esteemed 7.1 rating on its imdb page, I learned that imdb.com is not an oracle.

It has a rating of  99% on Rotten Tomatoes. I am a member of the 1%!!!

Consequently and reasonably, I was anticipating a pleasant movie; I should have reminded myself that high expectations are the root of unhappiness .

After 110 excruciating minutes, I came away with three messages from this movie:

1.  Men can always be assholes, even if they’re senior citizens.

2.  I learned where cats really come from thanks to Gloria’s mucha loco amiga.

2.  The Laura Branigan hit “Gloria” has insanely different lyrics in Spanish.

Gloria (Paulina García) has been a divorcée for more than a decade lookin’ for love in bars.  Her desperation is tempered by her vintage (read: outdated) Foster Grants, which give the illusion that her single status is sudden and inflicted.

She doesn’t betray the mundane banality which is her life:  she works as an office drone, she has a suicidal upstairs neighbor whose hairless cat is forever escaping into her apartment on his way to reunite with Dr. Evil, and she’s being reminded, in increasingly crueler degrees, that she is no longer needed by her children.

Despite her desire for love dominating her life, she clearly hasn’t taken the time to read any pop psychology books on the subject.  If she had, she wouldn’t have slept with Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández) on the night she met him.

As they disrobe, we hear what sounds like a grand fart, but it’s only Rodolfo removing his abdominal girdle.  Sexy time!  Gloria is nonplussed. Post-coitus, Rodolfo reveals that he is not in fact a transvestite, merely recovering from gastric bypass surgery. Phew!

I suspect this is the reason the movie is earning raves from critics; it depicts graphic sex between older people (gasp!).  This should not be unusual, but it’s not such a brave step that makes this movie entertaining, let alone seminal.  Senior sex being a big deal reflects our culture’s needing to call some marriages “gay” rather than simply “marriages.” 

Rodolfo is the owner of “Vertigo Park.”  That would be the occupation I would have wanted my partner to have when I was 8 years old.

The first red flag waves when Rodolfo tells Gloria “Your personality drives me wild.”  Whilst they are in bed.  Naked. 

Peu importe, there are bigger red flags, waving more violently.  

Rodolfo still supports his ex-wife and two adult unemployed daughters not just financially, but emotionally.  He is permanently on call for them and fears destabilizing them (maybe really himself) by telling them about Gloria. When Gloria introduces him to her own family, pining ex-husband included, Rodolfo leaves the dinner party without telling her.  

When they finally address this incident, Rodolfo thinks Gloria’s including him is as inconsiderate as she thinks his disappearing is.  As both feel their positions are justified, they have just uncovered a deep chasm that separates them.  Without even “agreeing to disagree,” as insufficient as that would be in this situation, they move forward so they can both continue to sleep with each other.

Brian Brooks of New York’s Lincoln Center Film Society bloviated:  “Gloria serves as a symbol of a thoroughly modern Chile which has cast off the yolk of dictatorship.”

¿Qué?

The only indication in the movie that they are in Chile is a comment made by a guest at a dinner party during a political discussion.  Unless one is familiar with the city of Santiago or a Chilean accent in Spanish, this movie could take place in any Spanish-speaking metropolis in the First World.

One of my favorite reviewers, David Edelstein, who is also of the majority who liked this movie, did some Movie Snob style research. He believes there is a profound parallel between Gloria’s character and the original Spanish lyrics of the pop song “Gloria,” which couldn’t not be in this movie.

 He wrote:  ” …in Spanish, it’s positively throbbing with possibilities.”  

 Indeed, it is. Perhaps Mr. Edelstein wants to know “who’s really behind those Foster Grants.”  She never takes them off.

But, being Le Movie Snob, I out-researched him.

 Sadly, the more de-sexualized American lyrics are a closer match to Gloria’s reality.

He correctly notes that the song was written and performed by an Italian, the very popular (in Italy) songwriter and artist Umberto Tozzi.  While impressed an Italian wrote a song in Spanish, why didn’t he write it in his native language?  As it happens, he did; he wrote it in Italian then translated it into Spanish.

Por qué  español?

The “Gloria” pop song that we all know, the one that made the late Laura Branigan a star, was released in 1982.  It was included on her self-titled début album, produced by the German Jack White (né Horst Nussbaum), who suggested and helped to create a different version of Tozzi’s that was a hit in 1979-1980.

I owe a grand merci to the writers at commentditon.blogspot.com

Here’s how they describe the various versions of “Gloria:”

 if you’re Italian, she’s the object of a masturbatory fantasy. If you’re a Spanish speaker, she’s also sexual (but in a non-specific way). If you’re American/Australian/someone who speaks English, she’s someone with issues. 

Tozzi’s song is quite racy, the author believes it’s really about masturbation.

While there is no direct accusation of plagarism, it appears the song was first sung by a late 1970s kiddie band called Parchís, whose version is “less masturbatory, and seemingly more directly sexual.”  Keep in mind how wonderfully subversive is the concept of tweens bopping about as they sing about bopping.

Disfrutar!

While Mr. Edelstein’s conclusion is likely linked to his having enjoyed the film; I respectfully disagree with him; I find the English lyrics to be far more appropriate.

Here’s a video so you can follow along :

Quelques exemples:

you gotta get him somehow

don’t you think you’re fallin’?

if everybody wants you, why isn’t anybody callin’?

will you meet him on the main line or will you catch him on the rebound?

and you really don’t remember, was is something that he said

feel your innocence slipping away, don’t believe it’s coming back soon

Unfortunately, like another Chilean movie that was headed towards the Oscars last year, one must just say No! to Gloria.

About 

This site was borne of my passion for movies, particularly French films. I have spent time in France and am fluent in the language, hence the “le”. The “snob” part, while of French origin, is not meant to intimidate, but rather an effort to reclaim the word from the pretentious, just as the gay community has done with the word “queer.” We’re all snobs; we all like what we like.

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