Monday, August 17, 2009

Los abrazos rotos / Broken Embraces

Särkyneet syleilyt / Brustna omfamningar.
ES © 2009 El Deseo. EX: Agustín Almodóvar. D+SC: Pedro Almodóvar. DP: Rodrigo Prieto – negative: 35 mm (Kodak Vision2 250D 5205, Vision3 500T 5219) – Panavision 2,35:1 – color – digital intermediate 2K. PD: Antxón Gómez. COST: Sonia Grande. M: Alberto Iglesias. CAST: Penélope Cruz (Lena), Lluís Homar (Mateo Blanco / Harry Caine), Blanca Portillo (Judit García), José Luis Gómez (Ernesto Martel), Tamar Novas (Diego), Rubén Ochandiano (Ray X). 129 min.
    Released in Finland by Sandrew Metronome Distribution Finland with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Outi Kainulainen / Joanna Erkkilä. Cannes Film Festival: 19 May 2009. Finnish premiere: 14 Aug 2009.
    Viewed at Kinopalatsi 1, 16 Aug 2009 (general premiere weekend).

Pedro Almodóvar belongs to the select number of film makers whose new work I always look forward to. He does not disappoint with his new film, and it was a gratifying experience to see this in a big cinema with an audience grateful to see the new tale of a trusted storyteller.

This story is certainly self-reflective: Harry Caine resembles somewhat the protagonist of La ley del deseo, and the central reference is a film like Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios.

It is a thriller and a tragedy of passion. The mystery of the thriller is not fully resolved (at least when the film is seen only once): how fatal was the information given by Judit García: she was instrumental in helping to butcher the director's film, but was she also indirectly responsible for the fatal traffic accident?

But this is just the surface. The film is a meditation on many things: poverty (which triggered Lena to her fateful life-choice), art transforming life, the tragedy of the son living in the shadow of the mighty father, the jealousy of the rich tycoon for the poor artist.

Almodóvar's cinematic storytelling is assured and enthralling.

The digital intermediate look of the 35 mm print is not too obvious.

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