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When it appears as though the end is in sight, the pilots, flight crew, and passengers of a plane heading to Mexico City look to forget the anguish of the moment and face the greatest danger, which we carry within ourselves.
Manuela is a hard-working single mom who has raised her son Esteban by herself since the time he was born. On his 17th birthday they go to the theater and after the show, Esteban tries to get the main actress' autograph but is run down on the street and dies. Manuela is beside herself with grief and decides to return to Barcelona to tell the boy's father Lola, a transvestite, about the death of the son he never knew he had. He is nowhere to be found but Manuela does find an old friend, Agrado and meets up with a pregnant nun, Rosa. Together they form a life and become fast friends - until tragedy strikes again. Written by
I've watched this masterpiece by Almodovar four times. Each time I unearth new sequences of pure unadulterated truth, beauty, and genius. It is just a totally compelling and amazingly insightful comedy-tragedy that works on so many levels.
Cecilia Roth is an Almodovar favorite, and there's no mystery as to why this is the case. She can express tragedy, wisdom, and an appreciation of dark humor only with her eyes and facial positioning, and express all three vividly at the same time. Her voice also is as commanding of respect as it is sexy and fragile.
Almodovar eye for visual poems of incongruity reaches a new pinnacle in this masterpiece. First, there is the haunting by-play of darkness and light preceding Roth coming to the rescue of El Agreado. Much later, we are treated to the brightness of the upscale restaurant Roth where Roth waits for her ex-husband Lola juxtaposed with a merciless exploration of the vast dark despair of Lola's eyes. Between these bookend-style frames, the profound dualities abound.
If you see one foreign language film per year, make this your next one.
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