Los abrazos rotos (2009)

by guest writer

Los abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces) is another piece of amazing film-making bearing the Almodóvar trademark. The subjects approached by the director and writer in his movies interconnect at some point. This is intentional with Pedro Almodóvar, because he wants to create unique products having a bridge between them, one that the viewer is happy to discover every time. As it happens with Broken Embraces: we find intense melodrama, powerful obsessions, living vs dying and the lost, and, deep roots in classic films.

Harry Caine (Lluís Homar) is our main character introducing to us the other players and circumstances. He is contemplating over a past drama in his life which left him blind. Caine used to be a film director named Mateo Blanco. An impressive number of movies in Almodóvar’s filmography use as background the film world. The time framing represents another Almodóvar element, going from past to present and vice-versa with such ease, unfolding an intricate story with many twists and turns. And, of course, there is his magic touch with the colour scheme again: its power is enticing and revealing at the same time.

The female character, Lena, is played by Penélope Cruz, another unforgettable screen appearance of the actress, as we’ve come to expect from her in the director’s projects. Introduced to us through a flashback, she was the mistress of a wealthy industrialist, dreaming of becoming a successful actress and auditions for one of Mateo Blanco’s films. The femme fatale character: this is a film noir too, but its complexity takes it further than the themes of jealousy and revenge.

photo credit: Emilio Pereda & Paola Ardizzoni/El Deseo, Sony Pictures Classics

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