Siesta (1987)

Siesta (1987), directed by Mary Lambert.

A woman wakes up near an airport runway in Spain, covered in blood, not hers. She has no memory of how she got there. Over the next few days, in a series of bizarre and confusing adventures, she reconstructs the previous few days.

This is another one of those "journey of the soul after death" stories, more experimental and choppy than say The Quiet Earth (1985) or Jacob's Ladder. It has its problems -- dialogue being particularly weak -- and is widely regarded as a Very Bad Movie, but I am fond of it and the 80s nostalgia rush is strong in this one for me.

Ellen Barkin -- a favorite from those years -- is pretty bold here, with full frontal nudity at revealing angles:

I've read that Madonna turned down the lead because of "too much nudity and sex". Which is boggling; by her purported standards and those of 80s films this isn't that far out of bounds. Lambert directed several Madonna music videos.

Also with Julian Sands (guardian angel as drunken brawling artist), Jodie Foster, Gabriel Byrne, Martin Sheen, Isabella Rossellini and Alexei Sayle (Charon the horny underworld boatman as cab driver with metal teeth).

Miles Davis performs some of the score. This site has an interview with the director, emphasizing the music: The Last Miles.

Both the film and the score remind me of Alan Rudolph films from the same time. Mark Isham did his music.

On nostalgia: it comes on me so strongly sometimes, like waves of nausea. Old music, old films will do it. The recovery of forgotten mental states, crazy years, times from my youth when I had an edge, creative powers now at rest.

I don't believe this has ever been on DVD in North America. I imported a German PAL DVD, cropped to 1.33, which seems to be all that is available. No subtitles.