This glorious and outrageous comedy was a box office smash in Spain with audiences embracing the unabashedly crass and foul-mouthed Carmina Barrios. Written and directed by Paco León in the style of a documentary, the bizarre and hilarious Carmina or Blow Up follows the filmmaker’s mother, a 58-year-old tavern manager in Seville.
Between cigarettes at her kitchen table, Carmina tells her story. We learn that she has been struggling to support her family, as the tavern has been burgled many times but the insurance company has never delivered. Desperate, Carmina decides to fake the perfect break-in to ensure an insurance payout. While Carmina’s plan unfolds, she reflects on the pile of crazy, tragic and comic situations that have piled up along the way.
Family and friends (many playing themselves) add authenticity to this incredibly funny and unapologetically vulgar film, which León maintains is based on his mother’s real life. The central, unstoppable force of the film is Carmina, a strong, coarse and unflinching woman who mows down anything in her path. This is a film and a character that audiences will never forget.