Thursday, September 28, 2023

Vadillo's Savage Summer.

During the 1960’s, Enrique Gomez Vadillo began his career in the theater through some relatives of his and he immediately became enamored with acting. Later on, he got into directing the very same plays he was also acting in—further enhancing his talents. Vadillo later on entered the television & film industry and was recruiting young talents from all over Mexico and this made way for Vadillo to get involved in bigger productions on stage & on film. His first break came with helping produce the Mexican/Spanish co-production Navajeros. After the success of Navajeros, Vadillo had gotten the opportunity to direct his very own film & from an idea all of his own.

Verano Salvaje (aka "Savage Summer") tells the story of Cecilia (Ana Martin); a young woman who has decided to stay at her family’s beach house to get away from the pending marriage of her elderly father & his very young fiancé. Cecilia brings her boyfriend & a friend of hers along to the beach house, but it all goes bad when Cecilia catches her boyfriend sleeping with her friend. Rather than be depressed about the whole ordeal, Cecilia decides to reunite with her 2 childhood friends “Pepe” & “Andres” and strike a much closer bond with them both. Cecilia begins to have sex with both her friends and this leads to both men wanting her and ignoring their significant others. Cecilia also begins seeing other men and one in particular “Eduardo”, a wealthy man close to Pepe & Andres. Cecilia solely desires psychical contact as a way to escape from the emotional baggage she once carried around with her, but will she find true happiness in life this way? 

Verano Salvaje is a film that is 90 minutes long, but so much happens during this average runtime to the point where it feels like it’s much longer. While the film focuses on Cecilia & her many flings, we are also given a glimpse of the people around her & her men—particularly the 2 women that Andres & Pepe are in relationships with. Pepe hangs out with a wealthy older woman named "Kitty" who likes to party all the time & Andres dates a timid nurse at the hospital where he has pediatrician practice at. The film also focuses on Pepe’s conflict with the local cop “Juaco”, whom has an obvious sexual attraction towards him. Then when Kitty is murdered at the beach, much more heavy drama ensues.

As you can tell, Verano Salvaje offers a lot of drama in 90 minutes and is all of that even remotely interesting? Does it even matter or connect? Quite simply, yes. The many dramas in Verano Salvaje are all very intriguing and it all goes into the kind of topics that director Enrique Gomez Vadillo was fascinated with in regards to storytelling & those topics were of eroticism, murder, emotional detachment & homosexuality. Verano Salvaje isn’t a gay film per se, but it does have a lot of familiar things we see in Vadillo’s later films and that mostly consisted of having men portrayed as sexual objects and always having them fully nude in scenes. Vadillo wasted no time here getting all of his male actors to undress. He always had to have that in his films & in stage plays, too. It's what he liked.

Enrique Gomez Vadillo was enamored with the beach and Verano Salvaje was of course set in & near the beach, in particular South Padre Island, TX—a familiar hub to shoot Mexican films in those days. With the beach setting, the scenery in Verano Salvaje is beautiful to look at and many of the best shots of the film are in the beach itself. Especially the final scene. 

Aside from beautiful beach scenery & an intriguing story, Verano Salvaje has a stunning-looking cast and leading lady Ana Martin really stands out, especially with her very obvious androgynous appearance. The 3 leading men Fernando Allende, Orlando Urdaneta & Jorge Rivero are also stand-outs and mostly because all 3 men bare it all out on the screen and that alone is rare to see, especially with Mexican male actors. Legendary Mexican actress Ariadne Welter is another standout and mainly because she plays such an oddball character, a total out of the norm for Ariadne whom through-out her career has always played serious, innocent characters.

Verano Salvaje is an intriguing erotic drama with a wonderful cast & great direction. While there are perhaps “better” erotic dramas just like it, Verano Salvaje still remains a standout that is to be seen. The same can be said of other Vadillo’s films as well. 

 Buy Verano Salvaje on Blu-Ray from Vinegar Syndrome