“A profession of love for cinema”

Posted by · 10:06 am · March 14th, 2009

That’s how Pedro Almodovar describes “Broken Embraces,” which is now mere days from opening in Spain. Reviews should arrive soon enough, but for now, this rather thin article offers the following tidbit:

With hints of thriller-style cinema thrown in, Almodovar’s film alludes to his own earlier movies those of directors he admires, such as Roberto Rossellini.

“It is a romantic movie, with intertwined stories of love. But underlying them all is my love for cinema,” Almodovar said Friday after a press screening.

A Reuters piece extends the vague noir comparisons, likening Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography to that of 1940’s Hollywood thrillers — one scene, in particular, apparently evokes “Kiss of Death,” which is good enough for me. (Am I the only one totally psyched about the teaming with Prieto?)

All well and good, but I’m puzzled by such writers describing this as some kind of major departure for the auteur: what were “Bad Education” and “Live Flesh” (which was, after all, a Ruth Rendell adaptation) if not jet-black thrillers?

Finally, I liked Almodovar’s explanation to leading lady Penelope Cruz (who still seems endearingly bewildered by her recent awards success) of the significance of what an Oscar statuette means:

“The Oscar is the only prize that is treated like a living thing. People and friends call you to come over and meet it.”

He has two of them, lest we forget. Given Almodovar’s progression from enfant terrible to crossover arthouse king (have people forgotten the brazen weirdness of “Kika” or “Law of Desire?”), some are suggesting a third could be on its way — but hey, that’s what we all thought about “Volver.”

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7 responses so far

  • 1 3-14-2009 at 12:42 pm

    Bernardo said...

    I think that this will be one of the best movies of the year. But the Academy is so complicated when the subject is foreign movies, that I donВґt really know if Almodovar will get his third Oscar… Will see.

  • 2 3-14-2009 at 8:55 pm

    Marvin said...

    AlmodГіvar has been talking at large with the Spanish press about his new movie. There was a great article not too long ago from newspaper El Pais, where among other things they discuss his headaches (his migraine partly inspired this movie), the character of the blind director Mateo Blanco, AlmodГіvar’s alter ego and discusses Prieto and his 1,000 watt lights and how he had to wear dark glasses and hats due to his photophobia and how cinema is light.

    He namedrops von Sternberg and Dietrich, Citizen Kane and the interviewer mentions that the scene features a scene from Rossellini’s Viaggio in Italia.

    He says that John M. Stahl’s Leave Her to Heaven is the most perfect union of thriller and melodrama.

    It’s a great interview and you should have someone translate it for you: http://www.elpais.com/articulo/portada/Fundidos/negro/elppgl/20090308elpepspor_6/Tes

    I love AlmodГіvar the personality and his interviews are always the best.

  • 3 3-15-2009 at 1:14 pm

    Christensen said...

    I saw it at an special screening on Friday. It would be hard for wide audiences to appreciate this film. It’s full of references to other filmakers’ work. The direction of the film is what this film is going to get a lot of buzz, it’s an amazing direction, the film that proves he might be one of the greatest now.

    The acting is good. Penelope is (surprisingly) not the main character. She could be supponrting again in the Oscars, even when the whole movie is talking about her. lluis Homar is the real lead. Alberto Iglesias’ score is SO going to be nominated, it is probably the best of his career. Rodrigo Prieto’s cinematography and art direction is absolutely atonishing, they could really compete at the Oscars (and even win) especially the art direction. All the sets are amazing.

    The film is a tribute to all the film noir Almodovar loves. It may disappoint all the comedy fans he has but it will satisfy all the cinemagoers. Although it’s a thriller (the darkest he has) it is set on a production of a comedy so there are a few of comedy scenes that tribute ALL the characters from his 80’s.

    This is going to get a love/hate reception.

    Sorry for my english.

  • 4 3-15-2009 at 1:23 pm

    Christensen said...

    I forgot to say that I got the feeling that the whole movie was too long even when it didn’t suspass 2h. It has a lot of flashbacks but the movie is not about what he’s saying but about how is the story developing. I mean, the story is quite simple and it didn’t have tricky plot surprises but it has a lot of wonderful ideas in storytelling.

    Penelope is even better than in Volver with a totally different and risky character. She should be nominated again this year. The character she plays in the comedy film inside Broken embrances is also great. Lluis Homar is going to take all the awards buzz here in Spain, that’s for sure. But all the top credit should be given to the direction and the score.

  • 5 3-15-2009 at 3:32 pm

    Bernardo said...

    Christensen, if you say that Penelope is a suporting actress in this movie, the Academy will have to decide between this and “Nine”… I really tought that she would be the main character.
    On the other hand, you made me very anxious to see the film. I love noir films and Almodovar is always great.

  • 6 3-15-2009 at 4:16 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Marvin: Thanks for the link. I can read Spanish to a basic degree, so I’ll have a look at it soon enough. Meanwhile, there are some interesting hints there — I KNEW after seeing the trailer that “Leave Her To Heaven” had to be in the mix there!


    Christensen: No need to apologise for your English — it’s excellent.

  • 7 3-15-2009 at 5:15 pm

    Christensen said...

    I mean, she’s lead in this movie but not like in Volver. She’s like Reese in Walk the Line. There’s a male character that owes thw whole movie. The movie is about him not her. But she has also a long screentime but I’m thinking she may have the same screentime as Blanca Portillo. So these two actresses should be lead but then there’s is the game of the campaigns so nobody knows anything.

    I tell u something. The best reviewed performance probably will be Angela Molina whose five minuts on screen are amazing. She plays the mother of Penelope in the film and everyone got very impressed with her performance ala Viola Davis. There’s also a lot of cameos from previous film’ actresses but quite short in time. Jose Luis Gomez who plays the villain is also an excellent supporting actor.