Friday, February 19, 2010

Broken Embraces (Rhoades)

“Broken Embraces” Explores Blind Man’s Abandoned Past
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Ever wished you were somebody else? The Spanish film “Broken Embraces” (“Los abrazos rotos”) explores that theme. It’s currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.

The plot is a complex mixture of past and present: Mateo Blanco (Lluis Homar) had once-upon-a-time lived a double life. Under his own name he was known as a popular film director, but under the nom de plume of Harry Caine he wrote bestselling novels. However, that all changed fourteen years ago when he was blinded in an automobile accident. Not only did he lose his eyesight, he also lost his livelihood as a director. But much worse, he lost his beloved Lena in that car crash.

So he “kills” off the identity of Mateo Blanco, as if he’d died in that crash too. With the help of his former production manager Judit (Blanca Portillo) and her son Diego (Tamar Novas), the blind man continues on as Harry Caine, writing movie scripts.

When Diego is hospitalized with a drug overdose, he asks visiting Harry about his former life. Although taken aback, Harry reveals the story. The tale that unfolds is “dominated by fatality, jealously, the abuse of power, treachery and a guilt complex.”

Director Pedro Almodóvar presents “Broken Embraces” as a hardboiled neo-noir film, despite its bright colors.

Notably, Penelope Cruz appears in flashbacks as the lost girlfriend Lena. This is her fourth film with Almodóvar. In light of her Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for “Nine,” you’ll want to see Penelope Cruz shine in this very different role.
[from Solares Hill]

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