Two friends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.Two friends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.Two friends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture.
This time a lot of adventure too.
Add these three elements:
-- among the several masteries he has is the way he can imbue a film with the sense of place, allowing that to penetrate, to saturate. I think he did this with New York before he realized it. Now, even though it is clearly uncomfortable, he is traveling the world looking for other places.
Unfortunately, there are few places on the planet that are as visually keyed to emotions as Manhattan. London. Barcelona.
I'm really pleased to see him still pushing himself, still placing himself outside his previous success. Here, he works with a person as place. It's a challenging cinematic experiment.
-- he merges this experiment with another that he and others have mastered: a single character appearing in three personalities. He only does two at a time in all three combinations. And again it is autobiographical. All Woody is.
His three types of women who collectively compose his complex character here are played by Scarlett with whom he clearly has a quiet sexual passion. Here she is adventuresome enough to enter his cinematically composed she-being as essentially sexual being. Her occupation is continuously improving photography which (with painting) Woody and others often conflate with film-making.
His second woman is too predictable to describe. Woody has entered Almodovar territory, physically, sexually and emotionally. Cruz merely has to show up in her passionate Almadovar kit. She's an emotional basketcase, a sexual genius, a painter.
The third woman is the new bit in this equation. She's the most attractive, the most self aware. Where the film is sets about watching the exploration of selves in place, she is a student of that place. She is the one who sees and fears and yet indulges. She is the true love, or rather her existence is what makes love possible.
Her occupation is the "study" of Catalon culture.
The radical observation here is that she leaves the place, this empowering it.
-- and of course the third grand element is not that this is Barcelona, but Gaudi's Barcelona. The place is only accidentally a physical place. It's really a spatial philosophy that suits (and indeed invented) the notion of superimposed ambiguous sexual emotions on space.
We are, for all the womanly registration scenes, in Gaudi spaces, either physically or by reference. Energies from the soul recorded, enticed and charmed from the forms we see in two dimensions.
If Woody ever were to do a three D movie, this would be the one. Alas, he passes. And he omits the most complex and life- changing place, the crypt of the unfinished chapel. Shame on his advisers.
This is essential Tedg stuff. Introspection. Complex love, it's relationship to attraction, what it means to be a woman and how that can be traced in cinematic architectural sex.
As a Woodyfold, it ranks with my other subtle favorite which it may well replace in my pantheon of essential films "Sweet and Lowdown."
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
- Feb 27, 2009