Posts Tagged ‘Almodovar’

Broken Embraces is a film about fighting the shadows of the past. The protagonist must overcome his demons and save a film made by him fourteen years ago. Pardon the stupidity, no, it is not an action film.

The film tells the story of blind scriptwriter Mateo Blanco, who now goes under his pseudonym Harry Caine. This fact and his blindness work as a mystery the viewer expects to be answered sooner or later. The circumstances surrounding these two enigmas is bound up with elderly businessman Ernesto Martel. His death sparks an interest to past events in Harry Caine. Many more questions are raised and answered until the film is over. Besides Caine and Martel the story of a woman named Lena is important as well.

The present of the film is interlaced by flashbacks from fourteen years ago when Mateo Blanco was filming a movie and still introduced himself by his real name. As the story the movie is at times tragic, provoking laughter right afterwards, then perhaps ending up with a disgusted shout. The main characters are lovable from the beginning, well, except for Martel, but he is a necessary evil in the movie. What are films without bad guys after all?

Besides the characters I also was stricken by the rich filmography. The color red is especially used for a strong effect. Mateo for example wears bright red clothes in flashbacks from the past while in the present he wears less luminous colors (matte?). Besides this Lena and Ernesto are differentiated by colors as well. Especially in a scene where the camera concentrates on Lena’s high heeled red shoes then switching to Ernesto’s black leather the symbolic value is strong. Red likely standing for youth while poor old Ernesto represents age, or evil perhaps?

The use of bright red is only one film trick employed by Almodovar. There are some truly beautiful scenes in this film. A bit towards the end where a recently blinded Mateo is at a beach with a small child especially. Also some deliciously funny dialogue, most of which was missed as a non-native speaker. One conversation where Mateo and a friend of his are discussing a vampire script they plan to write worked nontheless. Probably because of the vividness of the images they were making up. The writer’s of Twilight might want to take a look at this film.

Rich in irony, loaded with strong feelings and vivid imagery Broken Embraces is a treat even for a non-native speaker. Perhaps partly because of it. With less focus on the language I perhaps focused more on the shots and images. But with or without relying on subtitles, a great film.


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