After the death of her beloved teenage son in an accident, Manuela (Cecilia Roth) leaves Madrid for Barcelona to cope with her grief, hook up with old friends, andojust maybeocontact the long-estranged father the boy never knew. As she gradually regains the will to live through her involvement with the lives of others (including her son’s favourite stage diva, played by Marisa Paredes), director Pedro Almod’var piles on the coincidences, contrivances and twists so that the film succeeds best as a beautifully crafted, semi-ironic melodrama. Though the film has a fair share of camp humour, it’s the formal and emotional sophistication that really impresses; like Live Flesh, it displays a depth and maturity lacking in Almod’var’s earlier work.
1999. English subtitles. Colour. Panavision anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 101 mins.