El Calentito Reel Affirmations 16: Washington DC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Date: Wednesday, 10/18/2006
Time: 9:00 pm

Venue: E Street Cinema
Tickets: $9 Buy tickets online

Type: Feature presentation
Language: Spanish with English subtitles

Metro Weekly Rating: (4 out of 5)

by Nancy Legato

EL CALENTITO IS Chus Gutierrez's ode to the punk revolution amid Spain's troubled transition to democracy in the early 1980s. What's most amazing about El Calentito is that it starts off so far away from politics, disguising itself as a farcical romp with an almost American Pie-like sense of humor, focused on the efforts of a perfectly middle-class nice girl, Sara (Veronica Sanchez), to sneak out of her parents' house and lose her virginity.

In a series of humorous twists and turns, Sara ends up not losing her virginity, getting wasted, and waking up the next day with a new set of friends: the girls in punk rock group Las Siux. In need of a new lead singer, Las Siux recruit Sara to interest a record label executive to consider signing their band. The newly reconstituted group have 10 days to get their act together before performing for the executive at El Calentito. Sara has 10 days to remake herself in all her punk glory, hopefully lose her virginity, and keep her ultra-fascist mother from finding out her daughter's going radical right under her nose.

In the midst of Sara's personal revolution all hell breaks loose. Her best friend falls for her bandmate and comes out as a lesbian, Las Siux's former lead singer tries to sabotage the band's record deal, and El Calentito's trannie owner and chief social outcast dukes it out with the fascists who live above the bar. Then the other shoe drop when Spain's military attempts a coup, and suddenly, seamlessly, El Calentito's farcical romp grows just the tiniest set of teeth. Punk and democratic ideals of freedom get very concrete as martial law is declared, a curfew is enacted, and gatherings of more than four people are banned. How Sara and her friends handle the sudden threat to Spain's democratization and their big gig at El Calentito is a gratifying blend of aplomb and wackiness.

Also playing: Working Girl ( ), a five-minute, pop-trashy music-video-inspired film in which a family stares at a revolving ''living'' exhibit featuring a ''robotic'' woman in many womanly guises. Electro-poppy poop. -- NL

More information

Film Links:
· Reel Affirmations details
· Internet Movie Database

Festival Venue:
Landmark's E Street Cinema
555 11th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20004. (202) 452-7672. (map)
Near Metro Center station.

You may buy your tickets or passes in advance: Online at BoxOfficeTickets.com or by phone at (800) 494-TIXS (494-8497). Or you may visit the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U Street, NW, WDC); the Landmark's E Street Cinema (555 11th Street, NW); or Lambda Rising (1625 Connecticut Avenue, NW, WDC).

For more info visit the official Reel Affirmations website.