Home Movie FestivalsCannes Film Festival ‘Broken Embraces’: Pedro Almodóvar Film Noir with Femme Fatale Penélope Cruz

‘Broken Embraces’: Pedro Almodóvar Film Noir with Femme Fatale Penélope Cruz



Broken Embraces: Pedro Almodóvar on the set (top); Penélope Cruz as the heroine (bottom).
In the mystery-melodrama, a director and his female star begin a passionate love affair that leads to all sorts of trouble.

Wendy Ide in The [London] Times:

“Certainly, it is unmistakably an Almodovar film. Nobody else does richly-textured melodrama quite like him; nobody else can encourage such overwrought performances without unbalancing the film; nobody else shoots Penélope Cruz with a reverence which borders on fan-worship. But what’s missing here is the warmth and emotional honesty that infuses Almodovar’s most successful features. What’s missing is, arguably, Almodovar himself.”

***

Eric Kohn in indieWIRE:

“Pedro Almodovar offers nothing new in his latest feature, Abrazos Rotos (“Broken Embraces”), but that’s probably enough for his devout followers. With solid performances and a script that’s never too hard on the ears, Spain’s superstar director merely repeats the themes and conflicts of his greatest hits. With secretive family issues, tortured artists, melodramatic events and slight humor all in play, Almodovar dutifully plays to his base.”

***

Kirk Honeycutt in The Hollywood Reporter:

“While the movie as a whole is thoroughly engrossing and all the movie references and subplots involving the cinema world undoubtedly enrich his story, this is a pretty minor film from the filmmaker. It feels like more of an exercise in plotting and movie nostalgia than a story about real people.”

***

Thomas Sotinel in Le Monde:

“And here is Broken Embraces, a noir melodrama in which those familiar with the director’s work will feel at home: a filmmaker entrapped in the realm of fiction, the possessive mother of a good-looking teenager, a romance crushed by a car accident, and even a full sequence straight out of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

“This recycling job implies a dearth of inspiration. But the advantange a great creative mind has over mere mortals is that he may be inspired even by his own lack of inspiration, while his style hasn’t disappeared along with his new ideas.”

***

Pedro Almodóvar on his film, via indieWIRE:

“In Broken Embraces I also use the transparent simplicity of Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy to show the effect on Lena-Penelope of the discovery of the couple burned to death in Pompeii two thousand years earlier.

“I feel it’s the first time I’ve made such an express declaration of love to cinema; not with a specific sequence, but with a whole film. To cinema, to its materials, to the people who give all they’ve got around the spotlights, to the actors, editors, narrators, those who write, to the screens which show the images of intrigues and emotions. To films as they were made at the moment they were made. To something that, although you can make a living from it, is not only a profession but also an irrational passion.”

 

Pedro Almodóvar’s noirish (in color) Broken Embraces opens in New York City on November 20 and in Los Angeles on December 11.

Broken Embraces star several Almodóvar alumni: Muse Penélope Cruz (a potential Oscar 2010 contender in the best actress category), Lluís Homar of Bad Education, Blanca Portillo and Lola Dueñas of Volver, Rossy de Palma of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Chuz Lampeavre of just about everything Almodóvar has ever directed.

Also: Rubén Ochandiano (of Che), Tamar Novas (of The Sea Inside), Carlos Leal (of Chef’s Special), and José Luis Gómez (of Goya’s Ghosts).

Broken Embraces Trailer.

Photos: © Emilio Pereda & Paola Ardizzoni / El Deseo, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz on the set of Broken Embraces.

Photos: © Emilio Pereda & Paola Ardizzoni / El Deseo, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Lluís Homar in Pedro Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces

Blanca Portillo

Rubén Ochandiano, Tamar Novas

Photos: © Emilio Pereda & Paola Ardizzoni / El Deseo, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

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