Luna is best known for his 1992 movie Jamon Jamon which brought both Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz (now married and both Oscar winners) to the public’s attention.
Jamón Jamón (or as translated from Spanish Ham Ham) is a quirky tale of Silvia (played by 17-year old Penélope Cruz) who cooks omelettes for the workers in a lingerie factory. The movie covers many themes including the links between food and sex and amongst many memorable (and strange) scenes shows Javier Bardem describing Penélope Cruz’s nipples as tasting like omelettes and ham and ends with a fight to the death between Bardem’s character Raul and Cruz’s boyfriend Jose Luis, played by Jordi Mollá. Nothing strange about a film ending with a fight to the death you would think but this one has the two men using ham joints as weapons!
Jamón Jamón was the first movie in Luna’s Iberian Trilogy which also included Golden Balls (1993) and The Tit and the Moon (1994). As you might guess from the titles these movies also had something of an erotic theme. The Tit and the Moon is centred around a young boy’s obsession with breasts and his quest to find the perfect pair of lactating breasts after he sees his baby brother being breast-fed by their mother. The answer to the boy’s prayers turns out to be Estrellita, a dancer played by Mathilda May.
We will leave the last words on Bigas Luna to the two Academy Award-winning movie stars that he discovered, Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz:
Cruz: “Jamon, Jamon” changed my life. Bigas was one of the wisest persons I’ve known, living the present and enjoying the small things in life.”
Bardem: “I owe Bigas the woman I love, two soulmates and a career I never dreamed I’d have. When confronted with any conflict, rather than drama and anguish, he preferred a smile, love and a good slice of ham.”