Live Flesh (1997) Poster

(1997)

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"Una Vida Sobre Ruedos"
stryker-525 January 2002
One of Almodovar's favourite conceits is the use of old TV and movie images as ironic commentary on our modern lives. He loves the sheer trashiness of those millions of hours of low-grade output and he likes to mimic 1950's sitcom formats ("Women On The Verge") or to splice 'quotes' from old footage into his modern tales. It's a device which he uses very effectively in this film. When the gun is fired in the apartment, a shot rings out from the TV set in the corner. The fake news item of the bus birth, in black and white to represent the drabness of Franco's Spain, is a loving recreation of TV's golden age. Women are mannequins in these old TV shows, used by men as objects of prurient displays, and of violence. Our mass media have drugged us, suggests Almodovar, into being passive recipients of authority's handouts. We can no longer distinguish between entertainment and reality. David confronts Victor and wounds him in the testicles, but the two enemies are immediately distracted by the soccer game on TV and become 'guys together', forgetting their hatred in the communal false orgasm of the scored goal.

Names are always important in Almodovar films, and in this one they hold the key to the story's many meanings. Elena is Helen of Troy, the creature who radiates unconscious sexual appeal and leads men into war and destruction. Victor Plaza's name contains several layers of symbolic importance. He is the film's real victor, overcoming the misfortune of the shooting and his own sexual imbecility to attain true happiness in America. Many Spanish towns have a 'Plaza de la Victoria', a municipal tribute to the great historical sea triumph of Lepanto. In this sense Victor's name makes him the personification of ordinary Spanish life, a hispanic Everyman. Isabel Plaza Caballero, the prostitute whose wretched short life becomes a saintly image of suffering and continuity, has the name of Spain's great Catholic queen and the title of a 'gentlewoman'. For Almodovar there is no contradiction in a whore having nobility. Sancho is a kind of Sancho Panza to David's Quixote, the latter idealistic but impotent, the former iconoclastic and comical.

Almodovar's trademark is the looping circular plot in which the characters both repeat and vary their patterns of behaviour, crossing one another's paths and inadvertently echoing the actions of others. Nowhere is this better illustrated than here. The plot is almost literally circular, beginning and ending with childbirth in a wheeled vehicle, and Victor's life-defining moment hinging on the circular bus ride which brings him back to the identical spot where he started, a payphone on the Calle Eduardo Dato. The characters penetrate one another's lives in ways that are totally convincing, and with a grounding in human psychology which few writers or directors can display.

Opposites and contradictions are everywhere. Victor is the prison convict, the sexual inadequate born of a prostitute on a bus, who rises to become an admirable man, sexually proficient, successful, and a loving husband and father. Sancho the macho cop is a spiritual cripple, relying on alcohol to deaden the pain of his failure as a lover. David the real cripple is a national sporting hero. The mother is the whore, the charity director is the heroin addict and the naive lad is the jailbird. The welcome mat on Clara's threshold is the cruellest of ironies. Marriage and sexual coupling are the fabric of the story, but in fact everyone is cuckolded sooner or later. David used to 'service' Clara, now Victor performs that function, and the 'manly' Sancho is sexually redundant. Elena copulates with Victor at the dramatic climax, and we recall that it was a sexual encounter between these two which launched the whole story.

It is hard to watch Almodovar's work without thinking of Bunuel. The adolescent preoccupation with the 'obscure object of desire' is a good example. Almodovar is fascinated by the vagina, and over and over again in this film we see men's heads buried between women's legs. Two boy children emerge from wombs, David performs oral sex on Elena in the bath, Victor studies Clara's pudendum, David approaches Elena's genitalia along his wheelchair ramp. The great sloping twin towers of Madrid's Puerta de Europa form an architectural pun, a visual representation of a woman's open thighs. Victor's emotional speech at Isabel's burial site (apart from advancing the plot neatly) is one more image of a man's face in a woman's vagina, the grave being the ultimate womb. This particular vagina brought Victor into the world, and through its immoral earnings it gave him the money to live.

The first Christmas in the film, like the First Christmas, happens in a very unpromising setting. It is cold in Madrid in every sense. The final years of Franco's joyless, oppressive reign are conveyed very effectively in a restrained palette of blacks, browns and greys. A state of emergency has been declared by a faceless Authority, grown paranoid about the danger of 'outside influences'. Victor has entered a drab and frightened world, with a bus driver as his reluctant Joseph. By the close of the film Christmas has acquired its cheerful capitalist trappings. This is a 'Christmas in the sun'. Victor is in the young land of freedom and opportunity. He has come of age and is now the complete man. The future looks bright for the New David, father and son.
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"La Ultima Cita"
stryker-526 January 2002
Spain, more than most nations, has to deal with its ghosts. The Franco years were a time of enforced stasis, a period when no creativity was allowed to thrive, and progress of any kind was suppressed ruthlessly. A false mentality was imposed on the nation, a communal fantasy looking back in time to a supposedly innocent 'golden age'. Spaniards were forced to see themselves and their culture in terms of Carmens and castanets, fans and fandangos. A people was frozen in time for forty years, and fed on a diet of synthetic movies and novels which summoned up a sexless, crime-free rural idyll, Franco's concept of nationhood. While the West had the Rolling Stones, Spain had troubadors in sombreros. The galloping modernity which has transformed Spanish society in a single generation has given the young adults of today an interesting 'window' on history. While the West has moved smoothly from Sinatra to Sid Vicious, from Marilyn Munroe to Marilyn Manson, Spain has a deep chasm between today and yesterday. Almodovar is intensely concerned with this gap, and his films serve two functions in respect of it. They analyse the social forces which created it (and were spawned by it), and they help Spain to bridge the barranco. It is time now for Spain to move on. When Elena meets Victor for one final date, the purpose of the sexual coupling is to wipe out the guilt which clings to their shared past.

New and Old clash on every street corner. We hear a soundtrack of anodyne 'traditional' songs overlaid on scenes of black immigrants doing drug deals. Sancho is a model of old-fashioned manhood who tries, but fails, to castrate the New Man, Victor. The house left to Victor by his mother is out in the northern satellits township of Ventilla, a working-class ghetto of high-rise tenements, Franco's already-rotting 'solution' to Spain's social problems.

Cinematically, "Carne Tremula" is second only to "Todo Sobre Mi Madre" as an example of Almodovar's assured command of the film-maker's craft. Transitions are especially well-done. A bus door opens and we see, through the cab, Victor standing, waiting to board. This is the portal of movement opening for Victor, the boy with the gift of lifetime freedom of the buses (symbolically, the 'new' Spaniard, born to a life of movement). Clara remembers her first sexual intercourse, and looks at a photo of herself in First Communion dress. Both events were first communions, both were rites of passage, abandoning the childhood phase. Almodovar moves the action forward from 1980's Madrid to Barcelona in the Olympic Year (1992) by showing the olympic logo on the cycle track, viewed from overhead, as the cyclists cross it. To end Victor's prison sequence, a bus (always his symbol) passes right to left, 'wiping' the prison and revealing the free man. Sancho the housebound husband is re-introduced with power and economy when Clara crosses her own 'welcome' mat to be greeted by him. Fire, earth, ice and water are used as 'gates' in the narrative, marking new beginnings (for example, Clara's frying-pan catches fire because Victor distracts her by announcing the end of the affair). Isabel's waters break on the bus, and we see men in water at moments of 're-birth' (David in the bath, newly secure in the permanence of Elena's love).

Stalking is a strong theme, Almodovar inverting and perverting the idea of sexual arousal and pursuit. Voyeurism can be innocent and healthy (young Victor watching Elena in her apartment) but becomes sick when the watcher is impotent and jealous (David filming the Victor-Clara couplings). Victor pursues Elena, even wearing a wolf's head in order to close in on her.

Clara is the woman with no sense of direction, whose emotional life is arid. She depends on but does not love the useless Sancho. She loves but cannot possess the sexually potent Victor. The mutual gunning-down of Clara and Sancho is pre-ordained, both in the earlier attempt, and in the shooting by which Sancho launched the narrative.

Elena, like many young bourgeois adults, had a heroin phase in her teen years, but has put that behind her and leads a useful and caring life. However, character is fate. She cannot escape the consequences of her sexual union with Victor. The 'final date' is the powerful climax of the film, the fatal destiny to which all of these characters are tending. It speaks volumes of Almodovar's talent that his highly-improbable last reel, with all of the central characters converging on one spot, is entirely believable.

In a film predicated on contradictions, David is contradiction personified. The sporting champion with no life in his penis, the good man who cuckolded his friend and partner, the hero of the stand-off in the apartment who becomes the raging jealous spectator on the sidelines, David is both admirable and despicable. His obsession with basketball is psychologically neat - a sublimation of his damaged machismo - and also a devastating revelation. The wheelchairs swoop around the court in a Busby Berkley parody of athleticism, and the ball pops into the basket in clever mimicry of the coitus for which this is David's substitute.

And Victor? He is the picaro, the innocent who is always on the move, never comprehending the forces acting upon him, yet never defeated by those forces. His 'life on wheels' is the true life, in contrast with David's sterile life-in-death on wheels. Victor, alone of all the characters, grows because of his suffering. Franco's Spain was static, but Victor has broken free of that prison, and is dynamic. He moves. Thus is he the true victor.
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9/10
unpredictable,even to a film junkie
poe98 October 2003
an amazing film. unpredictable, even to a film junkie and his or hers thousand films. Pedro is a true storyteller.this film withstands numerous viewings.as always, Pedro's bright color schemes make this one(too) a visual delight
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7/10
Almodovar prepared the ground
Dockelektro29 April 2003
Curious, seeing this after the smash hits of "Todo Sobre Mi Madre" and "Hable con Ella", because this movie sort of prepared the viewers to what was coming. Grabbing a solid and original story, Pedro Almodovar creates a movie that revolves around a strange set of characters, and on the process gives an excellent essay on the effect time has on people's lives. All the actors are top notch, specially the commanding Javier Bardem, who would later become an Oscar nominee with "Before Night Falls". Great music, cinematography and direction give this movie an even more satisfying look, and make this a well-achieved movie that ends up being the first part of an unofficial trilogy of Almodovar's best works.
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8/10
An excellent Almodovar's drama
esteban174712 May 2005
If you intend to see such a film, I warn you that you should not miss any scene if you really want to understand its intelligently arranged plot. Sometimes I see Almodovar as a kind of Victor Hugo of cinema because he makes various complicated scenes not coherently inserted in the film that you should put in order step by step. May be in this way the excitement increases and you will be more anxious to know the end of the film. Javier Bardem (David) played the role of ex-agent and ex-basketball player who was shot in fact accidentally. The Italian actress Francesca Neri is David's wife, and young Liberto Rabal is Victor, the man supposedly spoiling the lives of others, and strong lover. Love and sex scenes of the film are intense as if they were real. The behavior of the actors and actresses in the film is convincingly human, i.e. people having their merits and shortcomings in their lives, there is no fictitious models of behavior. Almodovar, as usual, tries to reflect the reality. There are many good dramas in cinema but this one is probably one of the best.
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8/10
Mature but not tamed
leandros2 June 1999
Almodovar has always been the king of kitsch, the naughty, the pervert (who isn't anyway?), the generator of endless dirty language conversations, the good the bad and the ugly of the movie world. Well, he seems to have grown mature, but not tamed in that sense. He probably will be strongly criticized for the oral sex scene, on grounds that he is abusing disabled individuals, just like he was almost damned by feminists because of the looong rape scene in Kika. Well, although he seems to have moved away from his bright colors and chaotic chasing sequences, and although Live Flesh is to the best of my knowledge the first movie where he openly praises the post-Franco era, it was as tasteful as its predecessors. And who can build up such a web of events and relations better than Almodovar does, anyway?
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9/10
If you like Almodóvar, you'll probably like this one.
vidking-229 March 1999
Almodóvar seems to be following the rule-"Stick to one thing and do it well." As usual he was able to create great characters and involve good symbolism based on a story which is full of ridiculously impossible coincidences and the sometimes predictable, but always irrational behavior of the characters.

As in some of his other films, the story involves characters who seem to be completely led by fate and always bound to their destinies. Each of the characters goes through a radical transformation in a relatively short period of time. In the end, noone is innocent and all are victims, but there is a romantic hope for a brighter future and a new start at life.

I liked the new set of actors and actresses that were cast, and I would hope to see them cast differently in another film
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8/10
Mix of elements...Honest cinema...Almodóvar...
jpschapira10 April 2005
Pedro Almodóvar changed the way of making cinema in Spain; and doing it, he has impressed movie watchers around the world. You have seen his movies; they are a mix of cruelty that includes honesty and passion. Not honesty in Almodovar's characters, but in the way they are written, showing a tough reality. About passion, well, it occupies a place in every person, but is not always shown; Almodóvar takes care of that.

He introduces you to the characters in the story, then he starts to develop a plot that you're going to see, even if it is predictable. Víctor (Liberto Rabal) has lost, or not, his virginity with one woman (older than him). He's not an expert when it comes to casual sex, but she wants to see this woman again, and doesn't understand why she acts like she didn't care what happened. The thing is he doesn't know she does it every week. Then we see David (Javier Bardem) and Sancho (José Sancho) working in their car. They are cops. David is honest and professional, Sancho is alcoholic and incontrollable; his wife, Clara (Ángela Molina), cheats him with another man. Sancho loves her, but beats her and keeps her locked in the house. The one who connects them all is Elena. Víctor fights with her, the police arrives, someone is shot and we see a frame that shows the movie some years later.

The person who was shot is David, who walks (well, he doesn't walk) in a wheel-chair. David saved Elena's life; they're married. Víctor is getting out of jail; he shot David. Sancho is in the same situation with his wife. Now Víctor is angry, and plans his revenge; eventually he meets Clara, and follows Elena, and everything is connected again, until the end.

Javier Bardem is excellent as David. He can cry while he talks and convince you that he is suffering. He is the finest Spanish actor, and it was wonderful to see him fighting against his character's decisions to do the things he has to.

Francesca Neri didn't seem Spanish while I was watching the film. She isn't, but she has the looks of a "femme fatally", and that was perfect for her role, which connected everything and had the strongest lines.

José Sancho gives a good support as Sancho, reaching the extremes with his face. His character is doomed, because what happens to him now is not going to stop, and the worst part is that he knows it.

Ángela Molina doesn't have the chance to shine, but still does a decent work, with what she has got. She can't be having sex with one only man, and she shows it.

Liberto Rabal doesn't show much acting talent, he's not the mos experienced in the cast, but somehow, when he talks, he seems not right, but perfect, for his role. Listen to him at the end and you'll see.

Almovodar is gifted and he proves it in each frame of this tale. You need to look at every part of the shot to see the details he is giving to the piece. Look at the sexual scenes; the balance he achieves: it's not so strong, but not soft either. It's subtle. His way of directing the actors is amazing. He writes the movie, and knows it more than anyone, so you know he is there to tell the cast what to do, and help them obtain their amazing performances. It's a visual style with life of its own.

I said it. There's cruelty and honesty at the same time. There's passion. There's betrayal, lies, sex. You see it in the characters, in their words. When David arrives home and sees his wife Elena in bed, and starts to touch her; she doesn't like it. "What's the matter?", he asks. "It hurts", Elena answers. "Why?", he says. And with a face that involves everything I'm talking about, she looks at him: "Because I've been having sex all night"
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8/10
A heart-throbbing thriller of a love and lust pentagon
Mancic20004 March 2009
Once again, Almodovar doesn not fail to demonstrate his masterful skills in casting intricate webs of human relationships of lust and love and his superb cinematic story-telling.

In the very limited timeframe of slightly longer than one and a half hour, the audience is treated to a fast-paced and mysterious love pentagon which stems from one person to another person and which eventually cast a web tangling the five main characters inexplicably. The conflicts between love and lust, guilt and innocence, love and sympathy, trust and control, an old, dark and cynical police state of Spain and a brave, outspoken and contemporary Spain……all fused into a melting pot of a heart-throbbing and colourful romance thriller.

One of the less flamboyant but more accessible piece from Almodovar.
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9/10
Sex Appeal
helfeleather17 November 2002
The young Victor is irresistible to Clara and Helena, and you can see why. This man is the sexiest thing I've seen on the screen in a long time. Great story, Almodovar style, a different perspective of Madrid, great acting, but Liberto Rabal stands out amongst all of it. Very tasty indeed.
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7/10
The bold and the beautiful
paul2001sw-120 September 2007
Pedro Amoldovar's 'Live Flesh' is a stylish, original and watchable revenge-thriller, featuring not just a love triangle, but a love pentagon; moreover, one of the participants is that rare creation, a disabled character who inspires envy not pity. But there isn't too much substance beneath the surface: all the leading figures are gorgeous without being lovable, and while the central sex scene is certainly quite erotic, I don't imagine you'd see anything quite so arousing by sticking a camera in any real couple's bedroom. There is one theme behind the story, which is brought forward in the conclusion of the movie, and that is the changing face of Spain over the last quarter of the twentieth century; but the connection of this idea to the plot is slight. Overall, it's a film with interesting parts, but their sum is a little underwhelming.
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2/10
Stalker and prey live happily ever after
dierregi24 September 2013
Victor is a proletarian guy, born on bus by a mother working as a prostitute (shown in an overlong introduction and pointless to the rest of the movie) who falls for Elena, an upper class junkie. Actually, he just has casual sex with her once and becomes erotically obsessed with her.

He stalks her to her apartment and stubbornly refuses to leave her alone. A fight ensues and Sancho and David, a couple of cops appear on the scene. David gets paralyzed by a gunshot and ends up married to Elena.

Victor gets to jail, but he is still obsessed with Elena and continues stalking her once he gets out four years later. Already unconvincing, the story takes a turn for the absurd when Elena shows a growing interest for Victor, who continues to confuse obsession with love.

In the meantime, Victor is also sexually involved with Clara, Sancho's wife (very believable plot twist). Clara is giving him lessons to become the best lover in the world, Victor's top ambition so as to astonish Elena with his performance. It sounds like a demented plot, but I am not making it up.

Probably one of the weakest Almodovar's films, it contains the inevitable steamy sex scene, which are Almodovar trademark and it is disgraced even further by an absurd "happy ending", which sees stalker and prey happily together, while Elena is giving birth to their child on a car (back to the start, in a sort of circular move).

P.S. to make the matter worse, throughout the whole movie Victor blames Elena, David and everybody else for his misfortunes, conveniently avoiding to notice that the whole drama arose from his obsession.
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6/10
beautiful, assured, and problematic
matt-19430 May 2000
His most beautiful film I've seen, with the greatest command of camera, story, and production in general. But why, oh why, does he need to believe that if the sex is good enough a woman will fall in love with a man?
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8/10
A well constructed and interesting story
tonylo2 April 2000
Almodovar has done it again. He writes for all of us. The political statement about the changes in Spain over the 26 years of the movie, the full circle of birth, and the triumph of innocence over evil, were beautifully displayed in this movie.

The European filmakers have always done it better and now with the growth of the independents, maybe the Americans are catching on that in this director's medium called film, the actors are really secondary or even tertiary to the script and the director. Hooray for Almodovar!
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Soft Portals
tedg18 December 2006
Almodovar at least does two things for me.

—He touches on deep stuff without pretending that he has to do so in a story. Thus he avoids moralizing and is able to maintain all sorts of ambiguities and overlaps between different parts of the world. Oh, there's always a story, but they are so soap opera-ish and delivered so jauntily that they actually separate from the movie.

—He does everything cinematically. He really has an eye that is a treasure. Every element of what we see, WE SEE. It isn't explained. It isn't in dialog that we happen to overhear, we see it. Not only does he use a cinematic vocabulary to deliver the main goods, but similar devices are used to show us that it is a layered structure.

He mixes television (in several modes), old movies, and out of body narrative. Often dreams and visions. Paintings, photographs and postcards and in this case an imagined ending (after "Taxi Drviver). Often one or more characters is a generator of public stories; here it is a wounded cop who becomes a wheelchair basketball star.

He's not my favorite Spaniard, and this isn't my most valued of his films. But its hard to better than any visit from Pedro.

Its an honestly vaginal world (with the connection among several layers being there) and I suppose therefore most women will actually think the story matters.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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10/10
Excellent Almodovar
preppy-33 April 2000
OK, some of the acting is bad and the plot is totally unbelievable...but I consider it one of Almodovar's best films. Somehow he makes the characters and situations realistic...every time I see it I totally forget how silly the basic plot is and get caught up in the story. It's to Almodovar's credit that he gets this to work. The only weak point is the acting by the leading man--he plays Victor. He is handsome, has a good body and does a nice full frontal nude shot--but he's a lousy actor. Still, it doesn't hurt the film too much.

Beautiful direction, some really good performances and a plot full of twists and turns and absurdity. It all leads up to a happy ending. Never a dull moment! Well worth seeing. IMO, Almodovar's best movie.
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10/10
More real life wheelchair depiction than in any other movie
jwelch6664 September 2003
As a new wheelchair user I learned more about driving a chair from this movie than from any other source. I've never seen any movie which shows as much detail of a guy in a chair and how he deals with everyday situations -- stairs, transfers, rough terrain, getting in and out of a car. Unfortunate translation of the title however.
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7/10
Worth a look
erasure31 December 1998
Something akin to a soap opera, but with much steamier scenes, Carne Trémula is an entertaining look at love, lust, and revenge. I enjoyed the way Almodovar served the story, one bit at a time, allowing for all the events to culminate in a very satisfying ending. Liberto Rabal gives a fine performance and Javier Bardem (of Jamon, Jamon and Boca a Boca), delivers yet another great acting achievement.

I saw this film both in the theater and on video. I found the movie much more effective in the theater. It's a great film to share with a large adult audience.
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9/10
i loved this movie
yey_food66616 March 2005
Almodovar is a master story writer--he knows exactly what to tell the viewer and when to tell it. He understands the volatile nature of the film medium, preferring to illustrate the motives of his characters rather than simply state them. As in "Todo Sobre mi Madre" and "Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios," Almodovar uses subtler methods than others to draw attention to important details. The movie holds together like an artfully composed opus, returning to hints given earlier on and embellishing on them. In this way Almodovar will definitely mess with your mind; by the end of the movie your judgments on the characters will make a total about-face.

However, the first time viewer should be warned not to take the circumstances too seriously. Almodovar's plots thrive on unlikely circumstances and chance meetings of characters. It is something more akin to the magical realism in literature, not to be taken literally.
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Strictly erotic
isminos20 March 2003
`Somos un sueòo impossible' sings with her deep and almost inhuman voice Chavela Vargas in Almodovar's film `Carne Tremula'. And this is what this film is all about: a love story, which reaches and overcomes the limits of an impossible dream.

Almodovar, based on Ruth Rebel's novel, creates an imposing, intense film in his own, familiar to us, magical way. The film evolves and revolves around the lives, passions, almost Freudian eroticism and weaknesses of five different (or so they seem) people. The main protagonist is deeply in love with Helena and after a fight in her apartment he is accused of shooting one of the police officers that arrived to `rescue' Helena. Victor is sentenced to six years in prison. When he completes his sentence he finds out that Helena is married to the police officer he was accused of shooting. Victor is having an affair with the abused and desperate wife of the second police officer in order to come closer to Helena. How will all the characters react and interact with Victor's invasion in their lives?

Almodovar brings the characters together, messes their lives, crosses their paths in his own magnificent way. The way that the characters meet, react and interact is based on the principle of coincidence, which hardly is happening by mere luck. On the contrary, the coincidences seem so delicately directed and calculated that it wouldn't be an exaggeration to suggest that the reach the limits of genius.

However, if the primary principle upon the film is based on and evolves around is coincidence, then the second principle should be sexuality and eroticism. The whole film is diffused with intense and deep eroticism. More specifically, images of naked flesh are the primary target of Almodovar's camera. However, the direction is erotic without a trace of vulgarity. The Carne Tremula (Live Flesh in its English translation) appears throughout the film aroused, with powerful hot and warm colours like yellow, orange and red -colours that one feels that they have taken over the whole picture throughout the movie-. In addition, Flesh appears not simply as a material of which humans are made of but also as a projection of people's feelings and desires, as an extension of the inner self. The Flesh is presented so alive as if it has a mind of its own. It is presented warm and wavy, it moves and it comes together in a symmetrical, rhythmic but yet natural way. Moreover, whatever it is enclosed within the Flesh's periphery is following its erotic dance with the same colours, movements and breaths.

Almodovar is creating the profiles of five people, who look so different but then again they are developed on the same basis. All of the characters are moved by one and single thing: their strong, unshakeable and nonnegotiable desire to find and experience love. A love, nevertheless, unspoken, as it is only verbalized by the expression of the Flesh, the intense magnetizisation of two different Fleshes breathing the same air. All of the characters desperately struggle to maintain their other half whichever the means. In this way, the Flesh takes over the Mind and their desire for love becomes an obsession, a sicken passion which destroys their lives. There's no sense of logic and reality when the passion takes over. Feelings are being over-dramatized and the script focuses on the human relationships. Everyone betrays and is being betrayed. And that's exactly what Almodovar wants to highlight. Is it love a desperate voice of fear and loneliness or is it the absolute enosis of the Live Flesh?

When Victor says to Clara that their affair should come to an end she cries out `Please, don't leave me, I won't ask you anything, just let me love you.' The language used in the film is an unshameless and graceful manifest to the human eroticism. This particular modern, everyday language comes in contrast to the non-vulgar and sensual love scenes and even to the traditional erotic Spanish music.

Once more, Almodovar highlights the role of the feminine -a characteristic that is present, apparent and obvious to the majority of his films-, as the whole world seems to unfurl around women. In this movie Flesh is certainly a feminine representation. Moreover, men's actions emphasize women's personalities and characteristics.

The actors fall easily and willingfully into the director's `trap' and follow him to an endless dance of eroticism and passion. Javier Bardem shows excellent moments of talent which are going to certified on his later role choices (including the magnificent Before the Night Falls of Julian Schanabel, in 2000, which brought him broader recognition and many awards.) Liberto Rabal, from the other hand, represents the typical male, almost iconic model, of an Almodovar film, representing fittingly every woman's ( or man's one could suggest) fantasy.

The desperate scream of the protagonists is identified with the tragic lyrics of the main song of the film `Somos un sueòo impossible'. We are an impossible dream.
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Highly stylised and stylish exploration of desire and jealousy
whosyourdaddy19 August 2001
This is a film whose plot intrigues to nearly an excessive extent, but you can't complain of mild-overcomplexity when films are so often void of this quality. As the the film progresses, by surprising plot-driven action rather than as the natural reactions of characters whom the viewer 'understands', sex is presented as the source of all love, desire, angst and jealousy. Madrid is portrayed in beautiful cityscape shots, and the cinematography is awesome in its exploration of the characters as well. In all, a stunning film, with more emphasis on plot than characters, but that does not demean the value of its ideas.
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9/10
A brilliant, very creative movie
carloi23 July 2000
Mr Almodovar shows once again that he is the master of the camera as it peers inside the female psyche. This film also allows us to look inside the male psyche, without the cliches and judgements that spoil so many other attempts. Another good film by a great master. I eagerly await his next work.

Carlo Infante
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3/10
such a romantic bad movie
xmephisto7 December 2001
It seems that 100 years of history of cinema has been wasted in a bad romantic melodrama, comparable to soap operas, this movie is worthless. Pedro Almodovar seems to had such a bad time making this horrible "master work".
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lives with living
wengrui3 August 2003
like most of Almodovar's movie, Great music, nice cinematography and strange plot and roles make up this movie. Though victor suffered a lot since his born moment, he still cherished his kindness. It is not surprising the two women fell in love with him. He deserved the end after those hardship. And the two policemen also got what they deserve. However, I feel a little bit sorry for Clara, who was dead long ago in spirit. She was prisoned by his husband with whom she had no feeling at all. She died for Victor who was her best love. I was really moved when she picked up the book and saw Victor as a little child in the picture which She kissed goodbye to. She loved all of him, from the time he was born. Anyway, they used to have a good time together. Almodovar is good at presenting conflicts in society. like the trailer says: all the desires, jealousy, lust and obsession made our lives with living.
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