Friday, 28 August 2009

[231] Broken Embraces (Los Abrazos Rotos) Review

One of my favourite films of this year, easily.




Memory, trauma and obsession are all key themes in Pedro Almodovar's new film Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos). Unsurprisingly for the writer-director, accepted as one of Spain's greatest cinematic artists, this is a complex, yet stimulating film - a graceful tragicomedy that blends genre and tone. Harry Caine (Lluis Homar) is a blind, middle-aged screenwriter, living comfortably with his ex-production manager Judit (Blanca Portillo) and her son Diego (Tamar Novas), until the death of old businessman Ernesto Martel (Jose Luis Gomez), excavates consciously-forgotten experience - of a film, shot over 15 years prior, before Caine was blind, involving the beautiful actress Lena (Penelope Cruz).

Broken Embraces hinges on a twisty plot that flashes from the present to the early 1990s, but Almodovar and company are fully capable of keeping the tone light and far from needlessly convoluted. In fact, in a showing of quite masterful flair, the narrative itself shifts in tone and style throughout - encompassing drama, comedy and thriller often within the same scene. Thankfully, this never becomes jarring or diffuse; Almodovar and director of photography Rodrigo Prieto's (Brokeback Mountain, Amores Perros) warm, colourful palette is highlighted by graceful pans and tasteful close-ups. Coupled with Alberto Iglesias' nimble score, these production aspects give the film an assured, consistent feel, despite the drastic shifts.


Read the full article here.

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