Pedro Almodóvar is a director that can have it both ways: He can give his audience a superb story, filmed in strikingly lush colors, and at the same time express his love for the art of film making. All as an integrated whole. This is some high wire act. Penelope Cruz? With Almodóvar, she’s never less than glamorous and exceptional in her range. Why work with anyone else?
There are several startling images/scenes in this film, any one of which lesser directors would have been proud to have concocted. For Almodóvar, these just slide across his camera lens.
Lena (Cruz) is starring in a film that her tycoon lover has financed. Her stepson is making a documentary of the ‘making of’, and since Lena and the director have fallen madly in love, this becomes part of the documentary. The jealous sugar-daddy Martel, has taken to watching the rushes of the documentary his son is making, and has hired a lip reader to interpret the silent scenes of the director and Lena. There’s obviously something going on between them. There is a climactic scene where Lena recites the lines from the documentary behind Martel while he watches the scene before him. Great film making.
And if we had any doubt that Almodóvar worshipped the images of cinema, we’re disabused of this notion by the final scene. Hands on screen and frame by frame, the director caresses the images projected.
Broken Embraces is a very accessible film, that also has layers and layers of homage, film worship, the making of art, the senses…this is a film that is almost for everyone.