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the town and the city
EPIC COMEDY If we get to forget the delirious and delicious comedy side of the film, we find an epic story of what the second half of the past century was for so many women in Spain. Moving from the town to the city(from La Mancha to Madrid, from great patio houses full of architectural wisdom to terrific social housing apartments in the suburbs of the city), fighting against the elements(fire that burns down like love, wind that drives you crazy, water that used to fill our rivers and now is gone), having bad luck with men as the only possible fate, exercising companionship, imagination, tenderness and shrewdness as their only weapons for surviving. Keeping dignity untouched inside them.
ACTRESSES Pedro Almodovar in this film is like a top ten chef reinventing the most popular dishes of his own culture! The movie is a tasting menu of the greatest playing actresses with the best possible direction. The wild instinct of Penelope to construct a suburban animal, with strong links to Italian mommas, the touching interpretation of Blanca Portillo, simply mind blowing, the master lesson from Chus Lampreave that fills the theater with rivers of affection, the young actress Yohana Cobo that achieves success in some of the most difficult takes in the film, and Lola Dueñas that gets the plainest part and gives it a huge dimension with high level performance for comedy. And Carmen Maura, that stars the story like a Japanese terror movie star, she is like the Obi-Wan Kenobi of La Mancha.
DENSITY AND GRATITUDE So we have an epic story, great actresses, and a refined comedy that fills the spectator with gratitude, at least that is my case. I just have no defense in front of a film like this, that tells me a great story, makes me laugh, and has the highest detail density in objects colors, comments, views, gestures, references, movements and subplots. That is probably the only trouble with it, more than one view is necessary to catch it all, if possible!
La madriguera (1969)
An architectural drama, the house plays the main role
This film is not just one of the great results of Saura and Geraldine Chaplin creative and marital union, but one of the rare movies where the environment, the house here, takes the main role.
The huge, abstract, pre-minimalist concrete house (by Spanish architect Carvajal) transforms itself during the whole film running, setting the path to the main characters paranoia. The images that Saura produces are enigmatic, surrealist, funny, and in a strange way therapeutic, and they are deeply rooted in Spanish cubism and surrealism. It is probably one of the most contemporary and interesting film by the director, not recognized, yes, but a great unexpected value anyway.