Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue

Cannes 2009
Daily Movie News, Photos And Exclusive Video From The 2009 Cannes Film Festival

Back to the Cannes 2009 blog homepage

Cannes Day Seven: Broken Embraces
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 00:21 by Damon Wise

Excuse the late blog but I'm still not quite sure what to say about the new film by Pedro Almodovar. I saw Broken Embraces just before the festival (it's been out in Spain for a few weeks now), and it really didn't grab me. I've seen all but one of the Spanish director's 17 major features – all on the big screen, my favourites being Matador and High Heels – so I'm not being mealy mouthed: I just can't quite figure out anything better to say, other than it's one of the director's better minor-key works, with a  stronger-than-usual melancholy edge. I think the problem is that the main character is male, and for some reason I just don't find Almodovar's heroes as engaging as his heroines. And, also, I was misled by the mistranslated pre-publicity, which suggested an almost Charlie Kaufman-esque film-within-a-film. But as it stands, Broken Embraces is a very straightforward melodrama about a blind film director (Lluis Homar) who has lost his sight and the love of his life (Penelope Cruz) and struggles to reconcile his bitterness and disillusionment in life with his passion for filmmaking.

I wanted to love it but I simply admired it, because even at his worst (hmm, with the exception of  Kika, which was pretty horrible) Almodovar is, like Lars Von Trier and Ang Lee, a very skilled and worthwhile director. This, though, was perhaps a bit too much of a private meditation to really score big. Unusually for Almodovar, there's not the normal vivacity, and, most surprising (for me) was the lack of a breakout player, like Antonia San Juan in All About My Mother, or Javier Camara in Talk To Her. Just as disconcerting was the way in which Almodovar regulars such as Chus Lampreave and Rossy De Palma seemed to be artificially shoe-horned in. But... the more I think about it, and (more importantly) the more I've found out about it (from Almodovar himself), the more I think it's earned its place in the career box set. My main quibble remains that it finds Pedro repeating himself – its core themes of identity, creativity and emotional impotence echo The Flower Of My Secret, Tie Me Up Tie Me Down and Bad Education (in not that order) – but there are some very intelligent and astute ideas tucked away in it that make me want to revisit it later.

Anyway... it's getting late.

And I have to go to bed.

To get up for Inglourious Basterds...

Login or register to comment.


Advertisement

Comments

1 tom 19392
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 00:51
and while you sleep i may steal your identity and ticket to see the basterds....(evil laugh followed by well timed comic cough)

2 Acho
Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 01:12
Excited about Inglourious Basterds much?! :)

See, we don't have much to say about Broken Embraces either.

3 TheGodfather
Posted on Sunday May 24, 2009, 20:02
I saw it last night and really, really loved it. I think it`s Almoldovar`s best work I`ve seen so far. Highly recommended


Log in below, or register to post comments
Username:
Password:
Remember Me:

RECENT POSTS

Cannes: The End
By Damon Wise

Cannes Day Ten: The White Ribbon
By Damon Wise

Photo Special: Inglourious Basterds Photocall
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Day Eight: Basterds!
By Damon Wise

Cannes Photo Roundup
By Amar Vijay


RECENT COMMENTS

Cannes Video Blog #4
"1 - wtf was Kingsley on about?, hell, just what was he on?! Need his weedman contact details  livinlaj
Read comment

Cannes Memories
"Zing! Nice summary alright. Empire seems pretty united on being positive about Ta"  Acho
Read comment

Cannes Memories
"Thanks for the concise, relatively brief review - this is most appreciated when some critics seem to"  Manfrendshensindshen
Read comment

Cannes Video Blog #11
"Taken is one of those 'Ronseal' movies, in that it does exactly what it says on the tin ... in it's "  indytim
Read comment

Cannes Video Blog #11
"God, I love Taken so damn much, and yet hate it, too. Though you can't really take a film like that"  MovieMogul
Read comment


POPULAR POSTS

Cannes Day Eight: Basterds!
9 comments

Cannes Day Five: Antichrist!
5 comments

Cannes Day Two: Tetro
4 comments

Cannes Day Three: Part Two
3 comments

Cannes Day Four: Thelma and not Louise*
3 comments



Back | Print This Page | Email This Page | Back To Top

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)