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Almodovar's first film of life in Madrid during the punk era and not one for the squeamish. He covers everything from drugs and sexual violence, to female masochism.Written by
Stuart Jackson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
i suspected i would get something like this before i saw it. I was interested in understanding the roots of Almodóvar as a filmmaker, how he started developing his kind of visual storytelling, which is so unique today. At the same time i wanted to understand and feel some of the pulse of the underground spirit in Madrid of those days. Both these issues are personal. I wanted to understand how one can use a force of available young (and inexperienced) talents and give a faithful expression of a certain moment in time and space. I also wanted (and still want) to get to "first works" by directors i admire, so i can understand how they used their technical and budget limitations to pursue ideas they were after. This is not Almodovar's first film, but it is the oldest to which one can have access in legal (and i suppose illegal) market.
I think this is a failure. Not because it's technically and formally (very) flawed. I actually enjoyed watching all the flaws passing in front of my eyes, i think some times a project can work out stronger if its amateur/inexperience face shows. This is that case. Anyway, i think this is a failure because it is a film where Almodovar is not yet capable of turning his soap operish stories into something intelligent from a visual narrative point of view. The story here is not more or less poor than in many other successful Almodovar features. But here he couldn't find a device that can with intelligent turn the experience into something purely visual, the way he does in his best works. So, i tried to see the positive side of this. The film proves to me how intelligent Almodovar is, for the paths he pursued after this adventure, intelligent in what concerns storytelling, and visual narrative and how he always searches for new ways to fold his stories and deliver them to us as visual products.
Actually, we have hints here. In between the scenes, the girls suggest the production of a film about their own lives. That film would depict precisely the events we get on screen. I decided to understand (i think this is a matter of choosing which interpretation you want to give) that i was watching the film they were discussing, as if the story was in fact things from the real world that actually happened, and i was watching women representing those lives. But there's an important statement, Carmen Maura's character warns that for those girls to interpret their own lives, they have to perform. They have to act, in order to be themselves. Intelligent. Almodovar would go on depicting women who act, many times act like themselves, other times they act like actresses ("Todo sobre mi madre" was all about this). This possible film within a film, and the denouncing that we may be watching a film depicting characters who represent themselves was to me a hint to layered storytelling, and narrative invention. Almodovar's career to me has everything to do with that.
"La movida" is here. In a moment i'm willing, and trying, to move into creating something in the visual world of images (call it cinema if you want), i really care about understanding how in this moment of Spanish pop culture so many talented people were able to come out, and produce important work. I'll search for other visual proof and important documents from this time, i'll try to understand how this and other films were possible. This is a bad film which i envy. I which i could one day gather such a crew.
My opinion: 2/5
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