Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Apr 24th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Crazy Love

film_broken_embracesRomance and storytelling merge in wry, marvelous 'Broken Embraces'

ust and obsession, fathers and sons, storytelling and filmmaking, betrayal and redemption—all go into the Cuisinart to be whipped into a gorgeous and volatile froth in Broken Embraces, a spicy drama from Pedro Almodóvar, served with a side of wryness. It's hard not to fall into gastronomical adjectives to describe this film: every frame looks good enough to eat (full of popsicle colors and striking compositions) and every performance is delectable, however small.

Lluis Homar anchors the story as Mateo, a Spanish filmmaker with a split identity. Blinded in an accident 14 years earlier, he's lost himself as a visual artist, but continues to write scripts under his longtime pseudonym, Harry Caine. The great Blanca Portillo is earnest and edgy as Judit, his loyal producer and gal Friday. Her son Diego (an appealing Tamar Novas) helps Mateo transcribe his scripts, between night gigs deejaying at a local disco.

But Mateo's carefully reorganized world threatens to collapse with the arrival of an old acquaintance calling himself "Ray X" (Rubén Ochandiano), who wants Mateo to shoot his movie about a son's revenge on his hated father. Both Judit and Mateo are shaken by the visit, but at Diego's probing, the truth begins to tumble out. It's a love triangle involving a younger, still-sighted Mateo, a powerful financier, Martel (José Luís Gómez), and Martel's mistress, Lena (Penélope Cruz, at her most vibrant and earthy), promoted from the secretarial pool after her smitten boss paid for the care of her dying father.

But being  fabulously kept isn't enough for Lena; she auditions for Mateo and wins the starring role in his new film. In order to keep tabs on her, Martel puts up the financing, dispatches his son to videotape every minute Lena spends away from him, and reviews the footage every night with a lip-reader to tell him what the mutually infatuated director and star are saying to each other off-camera.

Almodóvar is nuts over the delirious art of filmic storytelling, from his artfully fragmented narrative, to a sly comparison of good vs. bad takes in the sunny, early-Almodóvar-style comedy Mateo is shooting; from the frisky brio with which Mateo and Diego concoct a vampire scenario over the keyboard, to the stunning violation of Mateo's film as an ultimate act of violence.

And while the plot keeps us on edge and enthralled, the movie is also incredibly beautiful, from a delicately tear-splashed tomato, to the black, volcanic lunar landscape of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, to a gigantic painting of voluptuous oranges on Martel's dining room wall. Heartfelt, provocative, and brimming over with style (wait till you see how delectably Cruz is morphed into Audrey Hepburn), this is a gift to be cherished from a master of rapturous storytelling.

BROKEN EMBRACES ★★★ Watch movie trailer >>>

With Penélope Cruz, Lluis Homar, and Blanca Portillo. Written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar.  Rated R. 128 minutes.

In Spanish with English subtitles.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise