Rating: 8 stars
Seen 1 time
Seen on: 01/14/2020
Salvador Mallo, a filmmaker in the twilight of his career, remembers his life: his mother, his lovers, the actors he worked with. The sixties in a small village in Valencia, the eighties in Madrid, the present, when he feels an immeasurable emptiness, facing his mortality, the incapability of continuing filming, the impossibility of separating creation from his own life. The need of narrating his past can be his salvation.
Length 114 minutes
Agustín Almodóvar | Cecilia Roth | Penélope Cruz | Antonio Banderas | Leonardo Sbaraglia | Julieta Serrano | Raúl Arévalo | Julián López | Susi Sánchez | Asier Etxeandia | Nora Navas | Pedro Casablanc | Fernando Iglesias | Eva Martín | Paqui Horcajo | Rosalía | Asier Flores | César Vicente | Marisol Muriel | Xavier Sáez | Aline Casagrande | Luis Calero | Sara Sierra | Constancia Céspedes | Alba Gómez | Virgil-Henry Mathet | Chimezie Eke | Esperanza Guardado | Miguel Rivera | Eneko Galende
Really did not know anything about this going into it other than it’s been a festival darling since it hit the circuit last year. Was pleased to find that it had *one* showing at a theater near me (in fact it was only in a handful of theaters w/one showing per day which is odd). Figured it’d get better treatment given the pedigree but even my showing was sparsely attended (2pm on a Tuesday but still those usually get the wine & cheese retirees to fill the seats).
This is a very good movie and can understand why it played well to the festival crowds; it is a movie about movies and specifically a director reflecting back on his life. I say this with all respect to Almodovar, this isn’t a movie that needs to be seen in a theater. I’m glad I saw it but I believe the personal nature and intimacy of the story would work better on a small screen. And it’s shot that way with many close-ups and narrowing the space in the shot composition. Banderas is excellent in a reserved, nuanced performance that got him an Oscar nomination (his first!) but I wonder if this is one of those ‘yeah he’s great here but also his body of work is great so let’s nominate him now’ selections. His performance in The Skin I Live In is incredible and should’ve got him nominated that year.
I really like how the current life of this director is set dressed with all the books, paintings and trinkets around his home including his fashion. The Air Force 1 Jordans is a nice touch. Without explicitly saying so it shows how this person is compensating for the emptiness he’s experiencing at this point in his life. Everything about this movie really exhibits a master in control of his craft.
The final shot is brilliant and had me laughing for several minutes. (it’s not a funny scene just clever)