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Very few directors, since Bunuel, Fassbinder, Lindsay Anderson and Roman
Polanski, have been able to translate their own, very private universes, to
That is why, it divides audiences in such a radical way.
You love it or you hate it. I think, that is the final objective of an artist, to express their view, to give us their own version of the world we live in. It enriches us, it makes us more aware of the million faces of human nature. Thanks to Almodovar we're allowed to feel identified with, what we may consider, marginal characters. What a different experience is to sit through an Almodovar film and a Ron Howard film for instance. Almodovar remains, becomes part of us, Ron Howard's vanishes as we're leaving the movie theater.
This time of the year, when we talk about movies, we have to talk about
Oscar. The nominees will be announced this Tuesday, but there are already
favorites in some categories. Some people still doubt that "American
will win as best picture- which I don't, because I think it was the best
film of the decade- but almost everyone agrees that this wonderful movie
"Todo sobre mi madre"/ "All About My Mother" will win as best foreign
language film. And it really deserves that.
I've always recognized Pedro Almodóvar's talent. Most of his films are very weird and quite surreal, but sometimes I don't understand him. So I couldn't decide if I would see "All About My Mother" on the movies, or if I would wait for it to come out on video. It was released in Brazil last October, and only yesterday I went to see it at a local cinema. And... What did I think about it? Well... A true, true masterpiece!
The story of the film is about Manuela (wonderfully played by Cecilia Roth), a nurse who works at a hospital in Madrid, Spain, and has a 17 year old son, Esteban, who doesn't know the identity of his father. On the day of his birthday, he dies in an accident and Manuela gets desperate. She reads his notes and finds out that he wanted to know at least the name of his father. So she goes back to Barcelona, where she got pregnant, trying to search for her ex-husband, but some surprises will change her life.
What Almodóvar makes to this movie is just incredible. He makes us cry and laugh- specially in the scenes where the transvestite Agrado is. But, in fact, the film is a deep drama, studying carefully the female universe with strength and realism, and also explaining the importance of a mother. All the main characters are very well developed and each of them has some importance in the plot. It's really amazing how Almodóvar knows women so well, and how he loves and cares about them. His film is a very complex masterpiece, with some important messages and a wonderful story, and should be seen by everyone, even for the American people who don't like subtitles. But pay attention- the dialogues are fabulous!
"All About My Mother" is surely on my Top 10 of 1999. And... let's wait for the Oscar nominees on Tuesday, but I'm sure it will be nominated, and certainly win. It's much better than last year's winner as a foreign language film, "Life is Beautiful", and is a serious must-see. Just do me a favor: DON'T MISS IT!
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
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.
As this was my first Almodovar movie I didn't quite expect that
much,was I ever going to be surprised.Almodovar is widely seen as the
greatest Spanish cineast since Luis Bunuel,which I really like,and I
must say that I concur with that.The resemblances between the two
directors are also there,both use intense drama and comedy in one scene
to great effect and both attack the church in a big way.
TODO SOBRE MI MADRE is simply one of the best drama's I've ever seen because of it's superb acting and difficult but inventive storyline.The characters are also very well worked out. Leading lady Cecilia Roth is sensational as the mourning mother and the rest of the cast isn't any worse.The supporting roles by Penelope Cruz,Marise Paredes and especially Antonia San Juan are great.San Juan is a real time transvestite which makes it even more realistic. Almodovar caused quite a commotion with this provocative film although it never goes over the line(at least not in my taste)but you should not be old fashioned or truly religious because then it will offend you.
The humor that is put in the film makes it an even better experience.The mixture of intense drama and comedy is perfect.Another brilliant addition is the great soundtrack.The mixture between harmonic classical pieces and jazzy compositions is magnificent.
I can't wait to see more of Almodovar's work. 9/10 (currently number 39 in my all time top 100 list)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Departing more and more from his more usual farcical style while
retaining many of the elements that have made him the kind of
storyteller he is today, Pedro Almodovar ended the year 2000 with a
striking, passionate film that unless you had a rock for a heart you
would never grasp its ultimate, compassionate essence.
Manuela (Cecilia Roth) is at the center of this story, and through her unimaginable tragedy -- her son Esteban (Eloy Azorin) is killed in a freak accident while trying to get the autograph of his favorite theatre actress, Huma Rojo (played with great dignity by Spanish legend Marisa Paredes) -- she is able to reassemble the pieces of her life even though the people she encounters within her future bring her right back to her past.
Almodovar films this in a completely non-exploitative way though there may be times when it feels as though it is, but being a Spanish film maker, I can see and appreciate where the growing passion reflected in many of its emotional scenes is coming from. The tragedies of these women, and of one of the more gender-confused men, all lead to that last gesture of maternal compassion, and the fact that Manuela decides to let her ex-lover Esteban, now a trans-gendered female, learn that not only did he have a son who died and loved him blindly but has another infant son borne from a nun (Penelope Cruz) is the core of what human relations are about: love which transcends errors, sex, character, even the absence of a father. A fascinating movie experience that resonates and brings the real Almodovar into the spotlight.
What I like most about Almodovar's films, this one in particular, is the way he will grab you and pull you into a world you would not normally know and then, confront you with people's lives, emotions, relationships. Manuela, the mother who at the beginning seems so in control and clinical, earnest in her love and with the best intentions for her son, is shown to be much like you and me... full of doubts, questions, a need for answers and trying to understand how her life course has brought her to the present day and made her who she is. Barcelona in winter is richly filmed and serves as a backdrop for the renewing of old satisfying friendships and the budding of new ones, happening simultaneously and somewhat unexpectedly. It rings so true. The slow realisation that we are never really complete, that it's the people we love and live with, or avoid and later regret having done so, that makes us who we are. Almodovar sees the human condition and paints it carefully in this film.
What a genius Almodovar is! Who else could take such esoteric material and make it not only enjoyable, but relatable. It takes a lot of chutzpah for a male director to swan dive into the gulf of womanhood (I can't believe I just wrote that) and emerge with such truth, HUMAN truth. While the characters of this film seem to represent certain female archetypes, they still flow organically through the ingenious plot. Almodovar shows us that any taboo subject can be tackled without it being exploited when it is done with a compassionate heart. The sheer WARMTH of this movie is what makes it a stunning success. The performances in this film are unforgettable. Cecilia Roth is so dazzling and real, and heartbreaking. But only a genius like Almodovar can break our hearts but still give us hope.
Almodovar is masterful: he has created a film that seeps into you and rips apart your insides. Each moment is flawlessly crafted- the cinematography and light are lush, the writing is heart-wrenching. Loaded with irony and paradox, the story deals sensitively with a plotline that could have been sensationalistic. The strongest feature is perhaps the acting here, which is consistently superb, particularly in the case of Cecilia Roth, the lead actress. This may be the best film I have ever seen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Todo Sobre mi Madre seemly starts off as a portrait of devoted mother
Manuela and her ambitious son, Esteban. They have an unusually close
relationship and share everything with each other. The happiness
abruptly turns into heart-breaking melodrama when Esteban dies in a
car-accident while trying to obtain an autograph from his favorite
stage-performer. Emotionally devastated, Manuela returns to Barcelona,
the city she fled from 17 years ago when she was pregnant with her son.
Slowly and one step at the time, our heroine regains her will to live
again and she's doing this by helping others. She watches over the
confused Rosa during her pregnancy, becomes the personal assistant of
the depressed actress Huma (and even fills in for the part of Stella in
the 'Streetcar Named Desire'-play) and rejoins her old transvestite
friend Agrado. This film is about human beings and their thoughts,
emotions and feelings. So don't expect an adrenalin-filled action movie
that'll blow you out of your seat. More specifically, Almódovar puts
the slightly more eccentric (prostitutes, transvestites and lesbians)
members of society in the spotlights and succeeds in informing the
masses that these are ordinary people, capable of hurting
feeling. Through the clever and sophisticated use of absolute film
classics like "All about Eve" and - of course - "Streetcar", this film
reflects the depth and maturity of the substance. Todo Sobre Mi Madre
contains several colorful characters worth analyzing, but it's
Manuela's main storyline that impresses the most. Not in the least
thanks to the outstanding performance by Celicia Roth! The tears she
cries are real and the agony she feels contaminates you, the viewer.
Roth is a very charismatic actress who amazingly represents every
mother in this world. This is the best recent Spanish film I've seen
recently (aside from "Tésis", which is a completely different genre)
and warmly recommended to everyone interested in character-driven
cinema. You better watch it repeatedly to make sure you don't miss any
aspect of the player's personalities.
This review is dedicated to my Iberian Queen, Nisa. I probably never would have seen this film if it weren't for her
A movie by Almodovar, and no surprise it's marvellous. I decided to watch
this one after seeing Hable Con Ella and being stunned by it. I don't know
which one's better, but both are worth seeing for sure.
Penelope Cruz, who's usually in the role of charming woman, is an average girl on this movie. Perhaps below average, as she gets pregnant from a transvestite and has a fairly crappy life in general. And the head character, Cecilia Roth as Manuela, is simply a delight to watch. Absolutely no mistakes and flaws throughout the movie, no weird scenes, and everything linked perfectly. The plot not only tells a sad story perfectly articulately, but it also puts a mirror on the lives of people from extraordinary walks of life. Not to mention it feels European to the bone, the movie is completely different from any other European, American, or Latin movie I've seen.
By all means, WATCH IT! Absolutely a piece to be added to your DVD collection. 10/10 from me.
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