Adam Markovitz
April 12, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

After delving into horror (The Skin I Live In) and melodrama (Broken Embraces), art-house icon Pedro Almodóvar gets back to his screwball roots in a comedy about airplane passengers stuck in an endless holding pattern after a mechanical malfunction. ”The plane is a metaphor for the uncertainty in Spanish society right now,” says the director. ”Spain is circling around and doesn’t know where it’s going to land, but it’s an emergency.” The prolonged trip becomes an excuse for off-the-wall hedonism, including a drug-fueled orgy and an impromptu cabaret performance of the Pointer Sisters’ ”I’m So Excited.” None of which, by the way, is based on personal experience. ”I’m a very dull passenger,” Almodóvar says, laughing. ”I try to read.”

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