Pepas's lover, Iván, leaves her and she tries to contact him to find out why he's left. In her search for Iván, she confronts his wife and son, who are as clueless as she is. Meanwhile; ... See full summary »
Leo Macias writes sentimental novels with great success but hidden under a pseudonym, Amanda Gris. She is unhappy with her professional life and with her husband, a soldier working in ... See full summary »
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.
Kika, a young cosmetologist, is called to the mansion of Nicolas, an American writer to make-up the corpse of his stepson, Ramon. Ramon, who is not dead, is revived by Kika's attentions and... See full summary »
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
A girl's mother returns after 15 years to find her daughter has married one of her (the mother's) old boyfriends. They try to mend their broken mother/daughter relationship and deal with ... See full summary »
An ex-bullfighter who gets turned on by killing, a lady lawyer with the same fetish and a young man driven insane by his religious upbringing - these are the main characters in this stylish... See full summary »
Passion, obsession, wealth, jealousy, family, guilt, and creativity. In Madrid, Harry Caine is a blind screenwriter, assisted by Judit and her son Diego. The past comes rushing in when Harry learns of the death of Ernesto Martel, a wealthy businessman, and Ernesto's son pays Harry a visit. In a series of flashbacks to the 1990s, we see Harry, who was then Mateo Blanco, a director; he falls in love with Ernesto's mistress, Lena, and casts her in a film, which Ernesto finances. Ernesto is jealous and obsessive, sending his son to film the making of the movie, to follow Lena and Mateo, and to give him the daily footage. Judit doesn't like Lena. It's a collision course. Written by
Agustín Almodóvar: Pedro Almodóvar's brother, and the film's producer, appears as an employee of Ernesto Martel, in the scene where Lena returns from hospital. Agustín has cameos in 15 of the 17 films which Pedro Almodóvar has directed. See more »
Mateo's wristwatch has the crystal intact. A blind person's watch would have the crystal removed, so that (s)he could tell time by feeling the position of the hands. See more »
[in Spanish, quoting English subtitles]
What's your name?
I used to be called Mateo and I was a film director. I was always tempted by the idea of being someone else, as well as myself. Living one's life wasn't enough, so I invented a pseudonym, Harry Caine, an adventurer who, as fate would have it, became a writer. I had him sign all the scripts and stories I wrote. For years, Mateo Blanco and Harry Caine shared the same body, mine. But a moment came when ...
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A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: Pedro Almodóvar's homage to film-making
Pedro Almodóvar's Broken Embraces (2009) is a strange yet intriguing work of cinema. A heartbreaking tale of love, Broken Embraces highlight's the Spanish filmmaker's love for filmmaking as well the medium, which is underlined by the following line spoken by the movie's protagonist: "No, what matters is to finish it. Films have to be finished, even if you do it blindly." Almodóvar is not the first filmmaker to pay homage to cinema. Time and time again, filmmakers have used their films to express their overwhelming love for the medium: be it Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Giuseppe Tornatore, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Altman, or Martin Scorsese.
Broken Embraces (2009) is far from being a masterpiece. In fact, it's not even Almodóvar's best film, but it does have its moments that are enough to make it worthy of a watch. Almodóvar seems to have perfected his unique style by borrowing bits and pieces from the masters of cinema. Those who have followed Alfred Hitchcock's body of work closely would know that sex and humor were two of his major elements. And Almodóvar, a great fan of the Master of Suspense, too relies heavily on these two powerful elements often blending them with an equally potent weapon: social commentary. And like Hitchcock, Almodóvar loves to revisit his old works in an effort to further refine his quaint yet effective ideas. In fact, it is not very difficult for the keen-eyed viewers to spot the recurring patterns in Pedro Almodóvar's films, just like in Hitchcock's. And Broken Embraces is no different in this regard with the ever so ambitious Almodóvar trying to borrow and improvise upon certain ideas from his breakthrough film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988).
While the comparisons between Hitchcock and Almodóvar are endless, one similarity that just cannot be overlooked is their insatiable love for technical mastery. There is a brilliant sequence in Broken Embraces that that underlines the remarkable quality of editing (and technical excellence) in Almodóvar's films. In the very scene, a rotating CD can be seen fading into a cylindrical staircase as the movie's protagonist climbs down the stairs. The scene is highly reminiscent of the editing techniques employed by Hitchcock in one of his early masterpieces: Sabotage (1936).
Overall, Broken Embraces, at best, serves to be a guilty pleasure. Almodóvar's obsession to experiment with his old ideas in trying to embed them into the new ones ends up overloading the film with at least one excessive plot line. The best ways to savor Broken Embraces is to either treat it as a homage to filmmaking or to look upon it as a exercise in style. Regardless of the excesses, Broken Embraces will prove to be a great film viewing experience for Almodóvar fans and also for those who understand and appreciate powerful world cinema. 7/10
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