Jamón Jamón

cast: Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Stefania Sandrelli, Anna Galiena, and Jordi Molla

director: Bigas Luna

95 minutes (18) 1992
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Tartan DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Ian R. Faulkner

Having recently viewed Pedri Almodovar’s excellent Volver (2006) and being particularly enamoured with the wonderful and beautiful Penelope Cruz, I had high expectations for Jamón Jamón, which, if my Spanish is correct, literally translates as ‘ham, ham’ in English.

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The plot of the film is centred on the characters of Silvia (played by a very young Penelope Cruz who was only 18 when the film, the second of her career, was released), her lacklustre fiancé and the son of the town’s underwear merchants, Jose Luis (Jordi Molla), and the local ham seller, wannabe bullfighter and hopeful underwear model, Raul (played by an equally young looking Javier Bardem).

Silvia, a shop worker in Jose Luis’ parents’ underwear factory, is pregnant by Jose Luis but is considered too low class by his mother, Conchita (played by Anna Galiena), for her to ever be a suitable bride – Silvia having been forever tainted in Conchita’s eyes by the profession of her mother, Carmen (Stefania Sandrelli), a prostitute who runs the local truck stop bordello and who, it is hinted, has a past relationship Jose Luis’ father (Juan Diego).

Conchita, in an effort to queer the romance, hires Raul to seduce and sleep with the beguiling Silvia, but in the process, inadvertently, falls for the Don Juan sausage seller herself. This strange turn of events begins the film’s descent into even more bizarre territory (and that’s saying something given the foreplay Carmen performs with a parrot for Jose Luis), as from this point on the relationships and couplings become rearranged, mixed up and down right weird, until by the film’s finale every character has had intimate knowledge of a player other than their initial partner and one of Raul’s hams has become the principle weapon in a very deadly jealous lover’s brawl.

Okay, so plot aside, did Jamón Jamón meet my expectations? Well, yes and no. It is a funny and entertaining movie. The humour is a dark and offbeat humour: witty and satirical and occasionally completely twisted; the dialogue and situations are truly odd – naked bullfights, cooked pet pigs, and Ms Cruz’s breasts being compared to ham and potato omelettes – but it also comes across as a little indifferent and flippant to the plight of its characters; the extraneous quirkiness and obvious sexual symbolism begin to tire; and, worst of all, Silvia’s crucial third act change of heart is too contrived to be believable and leads the viewer to ultimately become indifferent to the plight of film’s protagonists.

Penelope Cruz and Anna Galiena in Jamon Jamon

On a plus point, Penelope Cruz is, as always, exceptional: especially when you consider her age and inexperience at this point in time. Her acting is absolutely first rate and is only marginally hobbled by the contrivances of the plot and, from a purely personal perspective, is as sexy as hell.

Overall, Bigas Luna and Jamón Jamón will not be to everyone’s taste; the film is not your typical romantic black comedy, but if you can get past the absurdity of the plot and fancy a mildly erotic film about love, food, sex, death and machismo, then this is for you.

So you have opened a brokerage account with a fund house and have started to trade through them. Most of the times there have been cases where the broker has been given right to your account; there have been many instances in the past where the broker has made transactions on your behalf on your account without getting permission from you.

The brokers have to meet their daily target limits of taking trades and thus when they get authority to trade on someone’s account they make use of this opportunity.

This is a horror and at times the brokers would push the complaint on you. It is mandatory for the brokerage house to maintain all the records of their transactions or any phone calls with the customers. However sometimes the investor is not very lucky and the broker takes advantage of the Bitcoin Loophole and gets away with this is because the investors may not totally be aware of the rules that the brokerage house needs to follow. They also are lost and do not know whom to approach.

Know what your rights are

When you approach a brokerage house to open an account with them you are immediately given a lengthy application form. The form is huge and also has many fine prints and clauses. Not everyone would go through or have the patience to go through the print and thus would not know what they are getting into. All that the relationship manager does is to put crosses where you have to sign and you do this without reading what is written.

It is your duty to take out time and go through the agreement before you sign the document. The rules curtail on what action the broker can perform. Some brokers blindly sign the form and they let the broker move funds when required. The investor does this because they find it very convenient. They place the order on phone and the broker can withdraw money from the investors account and use it to trade. This is convenient but it can cost dearly in case the broker does an unauthorized trade on your behalf.

Make sure that you give the broker some limitations. He cannot execute the trades without your consent nor can he transfer funds to your account. He has no right to transfer the stocks to perform any offmarket trades.

Conclusion

Do not blindly follow the broker because not all of them are sitting there to work for you. Every trade that you take earns them commission, whether it is profitable or a loss trade. And thus the broker in most cases is only interested that you trade. They are indifferent to whether you make a loss or profit on the trade.

Once you open an account with a brokerage firm and sign in as their customer then they will start bombarding you with recommendations and phone calls. This urges you to buy the recommended stock. This is even more appealing when the market is in a bullish trend. You want to enter the market fast because you want to catch the up move soon.

Before you buy the stock always remember that the broker is making money when you buy or sell shares. This is irrelevant whether you are making a profit or a loss. The more trades that you take the more the broker is earning through commissions. This is called the brokerage fee and this is what most of the brokers are interested in.

It is important that you do your own research and only then invest into stocks. You can also choose to invest your money through mutual funds. This is because mutual funds are managed by a team of experts who have the required knowledge and education. They thus know the economics of the market as well as read the stock reports and understand fundamentals before investing your money into the market.

Do not blindly follow the broker’s recommendation. Instead listen to the broker and do your own research. When the broker tells you to buy a stock then make sure that you yourself check the fundamentals of the company. Do check if the stock is overvalued. Your broker should not take the financial call on whether you should buy or sell the stock.

If you are unable to make money with your own research then you could even consider putting your money into a mutual fund. However here too you should make it a point to research well on the fund before you invest into it.

Futures and options in this post look appealing but do not fall into this trap. There are many benefits of trading in derivatives and the most important is that it offers leverage. This sounds tempting, but it can also lead to huge losses. Still there are lots of traders who trade in F and O’s. However those who do not understand it end up losing all their capital at a single go.

It is easy for brokers to lure clients to trade in futures and options. The broker tells the investors about the benefits of the investment option and they tell the clients how there have been traders who have become rich trading this segment of the market. Customers do not understand this segment but they feel tempted to get rich fast and they thus give the authorisation to the trader to trade on their behalf. However the broker is interested in earning commission and they trade leaving the client to suffer the losses.

The derivatives are used to hedge the position and this is something that should not form a part of your portfolio if you are a retail investor. Your broker may ask you to fill up the form for opening account in the derivatives trading market. It is strongly advised that if you are a beginner then you stay away from it.

Novice investors should stay away from this system till they get the confidence to risk their money in the derivatives market.

Avoid trading in the derivative market because even though it gives you the option to make huge amounts of money, you can also end up losing all your money here. The relationship manager of your brokerage firm is telling you just a part of the story. And also under no condition should you authorise the broker to trade for you.

Another way that the broker will tempt you is by giving you an option to trade using margins. This is a system through which the broker lends you money to trade against the stocks. However this is also a leveraged position and thus it should be avoided by the investors. If the stock does not move in your favour then you end up losing your money and also would have to pay interest on the amount borrowed.

Not all the brokerage reports have to be believed in. The brokerage house will keep publishing reports from time to time and before you take a decision based on this report take some time to think. Gathering information on any particular company is difficult. In no way can you get full information about a company and this makes you rely on the brokerage reports. You may however not get a true picture because the management of the company reveals only that information which it wants to share.

Read the research reports from various business houses and not just one. Read about the analysis of different analysts and this will give you a broader view. Make your own judgement then about the valuation and the earnings of the company. Some of the brokerage houses could also be biased towards a particular company and thus it makes sense to gather information through various sources.

Do not just consider the growth prospects of the firm that gets highlighted in the research report. Also take care to understand what risk factors the company has to go through. Many reports will also highlight its past recommendations. You can check that and see the track record of the analysis of the company on Quantum Code.

If you are an investor with a long term perspective then you need to cut out the noise that the brokerage firm makes. The best place from where you can get research reports is through companies that deal only in research reports and are not backed by any brokerage house or a firm. These companies make money only be selling their research reports and thus have no vested interest in you taking more and more trades. They have to give good quality research reports to you to keep making you coming back to them. And thus these research companies are not bothered whether you take or do not take the trade.

There are not many companies that deal only with research reports. This is because making the research reports is expensive and very few people would actually want to pay the cost just to get the research reports.

The brokerage houses will have traders who trade for the company. They are called the proprietary traders. Firms also trade on behalf of their clients and the brokerage firm would have to keep a separate account of the money that they traded for their client and the money that they traded for the firm. However some brokerage firms do not follow this strictly and end up using the clients’ money to trade. This is dangerous especially in the case of a huge loss.

There is not much that one can do because no brokerage firm will tell you the truth even if they mix the clients and the company money. It is thus best to not give trading rights to anyone. Also take care to not keep extra money into your account. Just transfer money when you want to make a purchase and do not leave any money lying in your account. If you have sold off the stocks then do not let the money lie around. Instead transfer it to your savings account.

Guard your money so that there is no misuse of your funds. In case of any issues then you can use the mechanism of grievance. This is where you can put in your complaint and if your charges are correct then you get a reimbursement.

The common reasons why investors tend to lose out are because of their ignorance. Learn the facts here now. If you have signed without reading the form and given the rights to the broker then the law cannot do much about it if the broker has traded on your behalf and booked losses for you.