Tied up with Almodovar's world

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 August, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 August, 1993, 12:00am

WORLD makes a quick return to the dark world of Spain's most eccentric export Pedro Almodovar with a repeat showing of his controversial romance Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (9.30pm, Original Running Time 102 mins).

The controversy surrounding the film, which is less boisterous than Almodovar's previous outings like Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown, arises from disagreement over whether it should be regarded as an off-beat romantic comedy, or a darker look at the power games inherent in marriage played with strong sado-masochistic overtones.

The film examines the relationship between soft porn actress Marina (Victoria Abril) and two men who want to control her. One is the director of her movie-within-a movie, the other is Ricky (Antonio Banderas) the recently released inmate of a mental institution whose burning ambition is to meet the prostitute he once paid to have sex with.

Marina is that woman, and when she fails even to remember Ricky, he beats her, ties her up in her own apartment, and bombards her with his desperate romantic overtures.

Tender or exploitative or both, Almodovar refuses to judge or moralise. He leaves that to the audience.

IF you don't fancy engaging the grey matter, then you can always sit back and watch the cream of America's teenage girls, struggling to out-dance, out-sing and out-gush each other on the dreadful Miss Teen USA 1993 (Pearl 9.30pm). YET another series looking at the fashion industry, begins today, but before you leap for the off switch, The Look (Pearl 8.30pm), which has already aired on STAR TV, is a cut above the rest.

Instead of waxing lyrical at even the most hideous designs - as many of these series are wont to do - this programme looks behind the glamour at the seamier side of the international rag trade, unstitching, as it were, the mystique behind the designer labels.

THOSE oft-maligned people, cricket umpires are the subject of the documentary series On the Line (BBC 11.25am and 12.25am) in an episode entitled Men in White Coats.

Former first class cricket umpires finally get the chance to tell the story from their side of the stumps. They reveal the pressures they come under, the power of star players and why a county captaincy in England can be worth a good 500 runs a season.

On the more serious side the programme also looks at the controversial methods for hiring, firing and marking umpires and reveals how the system has led to anger and disillusion. Cricket fans shouldn't miss this unusual angle on the game.

RTHK's Hong Kong Connection (Pearl 7.25pm) follows the fortunes of a team of 21 local disabled athletes who last September took part in the 9th Paralympic Games in Barcelona.

They won a Hong Kong record of three gold, four silver and four bronze medals, and this programme looks at the courage and effort it took to achieve such a total.

HEART of Courage (World 9pm) this week re-enacts the extraordinary act of bravery by elementary school teacher Katherine Finkbeiner who attempted to shield her young pupils from a gunman.

In September 1988 a young man carrying a gun entered the South Carolina school where Katherine was working on a temporary basis. He began firing indiscriminately and everyone fell to the floor except Katherine who approached him despite his firing straight at her.

She wound up with a bullet in the face, but she saved all but two of the children.