BROKEN EMBRACES Director: PEDRO ALMODOVAR SPAIN 2009 SUBTITLED COLOUR ANAMORPHIC DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO 35MM 127 MIN. Book cinema tickets PEDRO ALMODOVAR SAYS THAT HIS LATEST FILM IS ‘AN EXPRESS DECLARATION OF LOVE TO CINEMA’, WHICH IS NOT MERELY A PROFESSION BUT ALSO ‘AN IRRATIONAL PASSION’. The Spanish director’s most self-conscious film to date focuses on a blind ex-director, Mateo Blanco (Lluis Homar), who now leads a double life as pseudonymous screenwriter Harry Caine. The story, told to his young male assistant, traces the ill-fated amour fou between a director and his beautiful married star, Lena Rivero (Penelope Cruz). The complication is that the frothy comedy they are shooting has been financed by Lena’s jealous businessman husband, Ernesto Martel (Jose Luis Gomez), whose son Ernesto Jnr. is filming a ‘Making of’ documentary. Also, Lena’s suspicious husband is using the son’s raw footage to keep tabs on Lena and Mateo’s burgeoning romance. Hovering in the background is Mateo’s old flame Judit Garcia (Blanca Portillo), now his friend and production manager, who will later embroider the story with some surprise revelations of her own. Flashing back and forth in time, Broken Embraces is a melodramatic film noir that also references specific movies. The desolate volcanic beauty of the island of Lanzarote, to which Mateo and Lena flee when filming is completed, echoes the Pompeii-set scenes in Roberto Rossellini’s Viaggio in Italia (Voyage to Italy), while the film-within-the-film, Girls and Suitcases, is obviously based on Almodovar’s own Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. In other hands, this might have been too clever-clever and contrived, but Almodovar deftly weaves a multi-stranded web of emotionally charged narratives in which each thread is intimately connected to the other. And as he candidly admits: ‘At times, the best way I can transmit a character’s feelings is by doing so through cinema.’ Nigel Floyd. Director: PEDRO ALMODOVAR SPAIN 2009 SUBTITLED COLOUR ANAMORPHIC DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO 35MM 127 MIN.