Jamón Jamón (1992)

I heard of Jamón Jamón many times over the years but, because of its title (translates into Ham Ham), I always dismissed it at some stupid movie. Then earlier this year I saw Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem were in this so I checked it out. I didn't know anything about it other than that and I had not seen any Bigas Luna film so this completely caught me off guard. Not in a positive way.

The daughter of a prostitute (Anna Galiena), Silvia (Penelope Cruz) works at a factory where she sews men's underwear. She's been seeing José Luis (Jordi Mollà) for a while, the owner's son, and when she founds out she is pregnant, José Luis proposes to her. His mother Conchita (Stefania Sandrelli) though does not approve of the relationship and hires Raúl (Javier Bardem), an underwear model and wannabe bullfighter, to seduce Silvia and break her son's engagement. 

It's basically your typical telenovela storyline that, in my opinion, doesn't have anything to stand out from a cheap telenovela. It's got some bizarre subplots but they are never interesting as they should have mainly because they have no relevance whatsoever to the main storyline. 

Jamón Jamón is a film about passion and love but I just didn't feel all that. There are some pretty strange love stories in this film that mix with some of Spain's most famous things, paella, bulls/bullfighting and ham/jamón, in a very boring way. The ending, as weird and bizarre as everything else, was a huge relief. At that point, I knew for sure this was over.

While the story is basically that of a telenovela, the characters are completely different. You see, a telenovela, sooner or later, develops its characters, Jamón Jamón doesn't. They are flat, with no development whatsoever, in other words, they are boring. 

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The performances, however, make the film a little bit more bearable. Penelope Cruz is easily the highlight of the film, conveying innocence and sexuality at the same time as Silvia, and her chemistry with future husband Javier Bardem, who also gives a good performance as the bullfighter/model, is great. Jordi Mollà also does a good job as José Luis, the boyfriend. Stefania Sandrelli, on the other hand, is embarrassing.

The rest of the film is just tons of sex scenes, nudity and vulgarity, and satire that just didn't work for me. The cinematography though is colourful and very beautiful and the score by Nicola Piovani is delightful. 


  1. It's been a long time since I've seen the film as I'm someone that actually really liked it. I enjoyed the sex scenes but it's also a film about masculinity and the object of masculinity.

    1. It is also about that but it just didn't do for me.