Broken Embraces (Spain, 2009)

Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar. I had had enough of feeling embarrassed and ashamed of admitting that I had never seen any Almodóvar, of people scolding me: “A Film degree and no Almodóvar! You are a phony, sir!” This was the one that I stumbled across first, and I’m glad I did. Almodóvar is certainly a unique filmmaking voice, and his prolific output should be enough to garner some attention. I enjoyed the narrative tone, the quality of—for lack of a better word—muted emotion. It’s not repressed emotion, not restrained, but just slightly damped a bit, as if by a blanket. Does that make sense? I’m thinking in terms of the recording studio at the moment, so bear with me: the emotion of the characters is fully present, as the sound of a drum being hit, but if there’s a blanket over the drum, you simply hear less of it, the sound is softened. It felt to me as if the emotional force of all of the characters was somehow “blanketed over” by some technique of Almodóvar’s—whether the dialogue, the framing, the editing, the lighting—I’d have to dig deeper to find out what. Perhaps it’s the face of leading man Lluís Homar, whose stony, immobile face and vocal delivery can be so expressive while being overtly almost neutral. There’s definitely enough in this movie to warrant a second viewing, and to ensure that I’ll be taking a peek at the rest of Señor Almodóvar’s stuff.

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One response to “Broken Embraces (Spain, 2009)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2012 | Offhand Reviews·

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