The Tit and the Moon (La teta y la luna) Review

Tete (Biel Durán) is nine years old and obsessed with women’s breasts. He’s jealous that his baby brother has a pair – their mother’s – for his exclusive use. Tete asks the Moon for a breast of his own. Then Estrellita (Mathilda May), a beautiful French dancer arrives in town and Tete thinks his prayers have been answered. But he has competition: Maurice (Gérard Darmon), Estrellita’s partner in life as well as on stage, not to mention Miguel (Miguel Poveda), a hunky teenager who sings flamencos…

José Juan Bigas Luna (to give him his full name) began directing in the late 1970s. He’s had a wayward career, but found his niche – in the UK at least – with a loose themed trilogy of sex comedies: Jamón Jamón, Golden Balls and The Tit and the Moon. Along with the similar Ages of Lulu, they’re the only ones of his films available on DVD in the UK. Some of his earlier films are worth tracking down if you can: Lola used to turn up every so often – dubbed - in the middle of the night on ITV, while the postmodern horror film Anguish is very different to his usual style, and well worth seeing. (I haven’t seen Reborn, another horror film.)

In synopsis, The Tit and the Moon seems out-and-out male fantasy – which it is, especially in the film’s standout scene where Estrellita displays a talent for projectile lactation. No doubt some will find the film sexist, and others may find any depiction of underage sexuality uneasy viewing. But Luna shows enough irony and lightness of touch to remove any potential for offence. It’s a difficult line to walk: Tete (who narrates the film) is portrayed with warmth and sympathy, even if his view of the world is as naïve as any other nine-year-old’s. Luna keeps the film moving at a fast clip – the sub-90-minute running time shows how economical the film is – and it’s bright and colourful to look at. French actress Mathilda May is best known for her non-speaking role as the naked space vampire in Tobe Hooper’s guilty pleasure Lifeforce. Appearances in UK-distributed films have been sparse since then, but at least this film does show her acting ability as well as her pulchritude. The Tit and the Moon is consistently amusing if rather slight.

Tartan’s DVD of The Tit and the Moon is encoded for all regions. The sample of the cover slick received is at variance with the checkdisc in a number of respects.

Filmed in Scope, the film is transferred to DVD in a ratio of 2.40:1, anamorphically enhanced. There’s nothing much wrong with this: it’s generally sharp (a slight softness is presumably deliberate) with bright colours and strong blacks.

The cover slick promises Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 tracks, but on the disc received there’s only the one mix, an analogue 2.0 (Dolby Surround) track. (From the end credits, the film was released in cinemas with a Dolby SR-D digital soundtrack.) It’s not the most elaborate of soundtracks, with the surrounds generally given over to Nicola Piovani’s music score and some ambient sounds. English subtitles are optional for the feature and the director interview (though compulsory for the trailer) and there are sixteen chapter stops.

The cover slick promises a director commentary, but that isn’t present on the checkdisc. Instead, there’s a short interview with Bigas Luna (4:38). As you might expect from that running time, this doesn’t go very deep: Luna says how the film is a personal favourite of his and contains many of his pet themes and images. This featurette is directed in a very irritating manner: the camera is constantly moving, which blurs any movements that Luna himself makes. The remaining extras are the trailer (non-anamorphic 2.35:1, running 2:50) and Tartan’s customary trailer reel. The latter contains the following: Vital, Sky Blue, The Intruder, Torremolinos 73 and The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.

With the completion of his trilogy of sex comedies, Bigas Luna seems to have fallen out of fashion again, and his subsequent films have not been distributed in the UK. The Tit and the Moon is certainly lightweight, but is enjoyable enough if you’re not too prudish, and its DVD presentation is up to scratch.

UPDATE: The Tit and the Moon was reissued by Tartan on 26 March 2007 as part of the four-film Bigas Luna box set, along with The Ages of Lulú, Jamón Jamón and Golden Balls. The DVD is exactly the same as before (Region 0 while the other three are Region 2), though the packaging is different: one of four thinpaks inside a cardboard slipcase. All four DVDs continue to be available separately.

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