Talk to her (3 1/2 Stars)

This is the final film from the Pedro Almodóvar boxset, and to be honest was probably my least favourite of the four films within the boxset.

The plot is about a male nuse, Benigno (Javier Cámara), who has had a lovely live being a caregiver to his elderly mother, who has since passed. Benigo because infatuated by a beautiful Ballet dancer, Alicia (Leonor Watling) who rehearses in a studio across the street from him. Alicia is injured after a car accident and as a result is in a longterm coma. Marco, a journalist comes to the same hospital when his girlfriend Lydia (Rosario Flores), is wounded by a Bull. Marco and Benigno bond together and become friends.

The film, I thought was a little slow and didn’t have much momentum. Although I liked the idea of the plot and the idea of the storyline I just wasn’t gripped by it. One of the scenes I did really appreciate was when Lydia, a Bullfight is getting ready in her traditional bullfighting costume. The costume is beautiful and you can see the history within the garment. I know virtually nothing about bull fighting, but was impressed with the ritual behind it that was seen in this film.

The film was okay, I wouldn’t rush back to watch it again, but if it was on television I wouldn’t avoid watching it, as for recommending it – I would probably pick one of the other three Almodóvar films before selecting this one.

All About My Mother (3 Stars)

A post written for Film fan.

All About My Mother is a 1999 Spanish film directed by (yes you’ve guessed it) Pedro Almodóvar.

The film is about Manuela (Cecilia Roth), a nurse for a Transplant Clinic in Madrid and a single parent to her 17 year old son, Esteban (Eloy Azorin). On Esteban’s birthday he is killed by a car as he races to try and get a autograph from Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes), an actress performing in A Street Car Named Desire, the play Esteban had seen for his birthday. Following the death of Esteban, Manuela returns to Barcelona, in search of Esteban’s father, Lola, a transvestite, who Manuela has not seen since fleeing Barcelona after finding out about her pregnancy. Returning to Barcelona, Manuela reconnects with an old friend Agrado (Antonia San Juan), also a transvestite, and meets a nun, Rosa (Penélope Cruz). The production of A Street Car Named Desire, the same one Manuela and Esteban saw on the day he dies, also comes to Barcelona.

This film, I wanted to like it, it seemed to be an original and different script, and I admire that. I like variety and originality; but I don’t know. It just lacked meaty substance, everything is all wrapped up lovely with no lose ends and it’s all very…safe. I loved the character of Agrado and thought she was quite funny, but her alone couldn’t save what was quite a slow film with very little character development throughout. It’s worth a watch but you’ll struggle to be bowled over by this one.

Bad Education (5 Stars)

A review for Film Fan.

OK,  no surprises that my second blog review would come from the same Pedro Almost variety box set. This time it’s Bad Education (2004).

Bad Education explores the story of Ignacio (Gael Garía Bernal), and Enrique Goded (Fele Martínez), two childhood friends who shared a childhood sweetheart romance. Fate rips the two apart until Enrique is reunited with Ignacio, now known as Angel, as he seeks to have one of his stories, The Visit, turned into a film. The film explores Ignacio’s childhood experiences at school and the victimisation and trauma he received during his school through the hands of Father Manolo (Daniel Giménez Cacho).

The film explores childhood victimisation, sexual orientation and the reality with dealing with very traumatic events for the main character, Angel. This is not a nice film, although the suspense and mystery around the film suspend from too much of that darkness coming to the forefront. I liked the format of the film switching between different time frames, and the plot doesn’t really reveal itself until towards the end of the film. There is suspense and mystery – which is sustained well through the film. The script is very good and original. The acting is outstanding.

It’s not until the end of the film, as I sit down to write this that the message is leaves is far darker and upsetting then you initially think whilst watching the film. The film is shot is fairly bright colours and the flow of the film tends to give a more positive, upbeat feel to the film, which I think masks some of the darker elements of the film. Left now to write about the film I am focusing of the ideas of child grooming, paedophilia, child abuse in the Catholic church, struggling with your sexual identity during a time when there was little acceptance and understanding (1980) and exploring drug abuse and how all these effect not just the individual, but the others around you.

This film I find has a good balance to keep the film a float with enough buoyancy to not let you get caught up in the horrific content of the film. It makes the film watchable. This helps bring attention to and gives people an insight and consideration to the struggle some people go through with childhood abuse and sexuality. However, now I am left analysing the reality of such a person, and wondering how very different reality can be from film.

Volver (4 Stars)

A review for Film Fan.

This is my first venture into Spanish films. Being dyslexic I have always found it daunting to read a movie but lately I have tried watching German films to help me learn German. Not only is it a useful tool to help hear German more regularly; German cinema produces some very good films, so it is entertaining too! I have really enjoyed German cinema so I have begun to wonder what other good films I am missing out on simply because I have to read them. A friend very kindly lent me a box set of four Pedro Almodóvar’s films. I decided my first film from the set should be Volver, a 2006 film staring Penélope Cruz.

Volver is based around Raimunda (Penélope Cruz), her daughter Paula (Yohana Cobo) and her sister Sole (Lola Dueñas). Raimunda is a hardworking, working class mother with a deadbeat husband. The sisters, who are still not over the death of their parents (who died several years earlier in a house fire) are shocked by the death of their Aunt. This recent death along with other events in Raimunda’s life triggers the materialisation of her mother’s spirit (Carmen Maura) to help comfort the sisters as they try to get on with their lives and overcome the difficult situations.

I found the film a little difficult as I don’t speak Spanish at and the film is a little fast-paced to begin with. I was interested by the different cultural beliefs of the women in the film, especially by the buying and maintaining of your own gravestone before you die and the belief in spirits manifesting themselves to help you through crisis. I thought Pedro Almodóvar directed well and I loved the location of the film and thought the scenery was good. The storyline is quite original, which is refreshing (take note Jurassic World!) and the acting was fantastic. However I thought the script let the film down a little. Raimunda is a very strong woman, but given what she has been through she doesn’t seem to quiver from a strong or happy disposition. It seems that in the writing of the script, the writer’s thought they didn’t have time to add a scene showing the situation overcoming Raimunda. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have a strong female lead – but it may be a little unrealistic to aspect someone to go through so much and not breakdown at least once. Another downside is the dialogue is a little fast paced and takes some time to get use to reading so quickly – but never the less a very good film that is well worth a watch!