— by MARIUSZ ZUBROWSKI —
We’ve all heard about drama going on during the filming of the latest Hollywood hit. Anything from slurs being thrown about to fists flying, but no cast experienced the drama that the fictional film’s “Girls and Suitcases” cannot match. Being the premise of Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film “Broken Embraces,” “Girls and Suitcases” is the center of drama which ranges from marital infidelity to domestic abuse.
“Broken Embraces” follows the story of a blind writer named Mateo Blanco, who is played brilliantly by Lluís Homar, as he recalls his past before taking up the pseudonym “Harry Caine.” Almodóvar’s melodrama about love, betrayal and movies is perhaps his best yet.
Mateo Blanco lives in darkness. He is aided by his agent and her son as he struggles to maintain a job as a screenwriter after losing his vision and being forced to give up his profession as a popular film director. When a woman he brought home because she “helped him cross the street” reads him an article about the death of a powerful businessman named Ernesto Martel, Blanco is forced to recall a complicated love-triangle between himself, Martel, and Martel’s mistress-turned-actor.
Not wanting to spoil any of the excellently done plot-twists that are scattered around “Broken Embraces,” I won’t speak anymore of the plot. Though some of these plot-twists are almost implausible, they are entertaining and at most times shocking. By the end of the film, the plot’s beauty and sophistication are evident and that makes for an entertaining viewing experience.
The acting is top-notch by everyone involved. It’s a rare sight when there are no weaknesses in the cast, but it happens in “Broken Embraces.” Penélope Cruz has a special place in Almodóvar’s heart and rightfully so — they are excellent together. Though Cruz’s performance as Lena isn’t her finest, it is warrants praise.
Lluís Homar’s performance as the acclaimed director who is on the verge of directing his first comedy “Girls and Suitcases” is the most memorable of the performances. Another honorable mention is José Luis Gómez as the powerful yet jealous business who suspects that Lena is having an affair with the director of her debut film. However, these are just the best of the best and other cast members include Rubén Ochandiano, Carmen Machi, and Tamar Novas which are all excellent.
Pedro Almodóvar has gained the title as one of the finest exports in the film industry and rightfully so. He has made another stylish and mature drama, this time about his own profession. Along with the French film, “Lorna’s Silence,” “Broken Embraces” is one of the best foreign films released this year.
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Click here for six scenes from the movie.
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