The best – and I would say the most enjoyable – part of keeping up with a film director and his movies is getting to know him. It’s tough to admire every single work done by the same person – and surely is very rare – yet there are still some like Buñuel, Hitchcock, Bergman, Fellini, Lelouche, Antonioni, Godard, Kar-wai – among others – which succeed in establishing a special connection with the audience (or at least with me!), and most importantly, maintaining that connection at every single shot. After watching Los Abrazos Rotos, I simply felt that same connection with Pedro Almodóvar.
My first acquaintance with him was with Hable con Ella. For a 17 year old, it wasn’t an easy one to watch. The movie deals with miscommunication, relationships, loneliness, infidelity and love beyond loss. I was very much amazed by it – the thick Spanish accent which fortifies the meaning of every single word, the sound, the character names, the places and many more. Then came La Mala Educación, the story of two reunited childhood friends in the 60s, which takes the audience further to subjects like transexuality, drug abuse, symbols, passion and religion.
My interest then lead me to Volver, the story of three generations of women, Todo Sobre Mi Madre, his finest film, the quest of a mourning mother to find the father of his son and her encounters on the way, Carne Trémula, the story of a group of people and how they are intertwined in each other’s lives, Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios, the only movie that can make one laugh so much about nervous breakdowns…
And lastly I watched Los Abrazos Rotos which turned out of to be one of my favorite Almodóvar features. Slightly different than his usual style, it’s the story of a man who lives, who writes and who feels in the dark. Very much alike the 1950s American Film Noir, Broken Embraces is the story of Harry Caine, a writer, who loses not only his sight but also the meaning and direction of his life during a traffic accident. Rather tough to explain in a sentence or two since there’s so much going on in the movie, it’s a love triangle – intriguing, heart breaking, thought-provoking and entertaining at once. And most certainly an Almodóvar-style-character study. Amazing performance by Penélope Cruz who depicts his usual strong female character, soundtracks that make you shiver, references to older Almodóvar movies and many more. ..
Accepted into the main selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in competition for Palme d’Or, Broken Embraces is Almodóvar’s 3rd film to do so and 4th screening at the festival.
Do a favor to yourselves – and do not miss it.