REVIEW: BROKEN EMBRACES
OVERVIEW: Academy Award® winning writer and director Pedro Almodóvar (2000 Best Foreign Language Film All About My Mother, 2003 Best Original Screenplay Talk to Her) reunites with Academy Award® winner Penélope Cruz (2009 Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Volver) for Broken Embraces, the story of a man who takes on a new identity in an attempt to forget his tragic past. This Sony Pictures Classics film was nominated for a Golden Globe® as Best Foreign Language Film and was an official selection of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
SYNOPSIS: A man writes, lives and loves in darkness. Fourteen years before, he was in a brutal car crash on the island of Lanzarote. In the accident, he not only lost his sight, he also lost Lena, the love of his life.
The man uses two names: Harry Caine, a playful pseudonym with which he signs his literary works, stories and scripts; and Mateo Blanco, his real name, with which he lives and signs the films he directs. After the accident, Mateo Blanco reduces himself to his pseudonym, Harry Caine. If he can’t direct films, he can only survive with the idea that Mateo Blanco died on Lanzarote with his beloved Lena.
In the present day, Harry Caine lives thanks to the scripts he writes and to the help he gets from his faithful former production manager, Judit Garcia, and from Diego, her son, his secretary, typist and guide.
Since he decided to live and tell stories, Harry is an active, attractive blind man who has developed all his other senses in order to enjoy life, on a basis of irony and self-induced amnesia. He has erased from his biography any trace of his first identity, Mateo Blanco. One night, Diego has an accident and Harry takes care of him (his mother, Judit, is out of Madrid and they decide not to tell her anything so as not to alarm her). During the first nights of his convalescence, Diego asks him about the time when he answered to the name of Mateo Blanco. After a moment of astonishment, Harry can’t refuse and he tells Diego what happened fourteen years before with the idea of entertaining him, just as a father tells his little child a story so he’ll fall asleep.
The story of Mateo, Lena, Judit and Ernesto Martel is a story of love, dominated by fatality, jealousy, the abuse of power, treachery, and a guilt complex. A moving and terrible story, the most expressive image of which is the photo of two lovers embracing, torn into a thousand pieces.
for Best Foreign Language Film for 2010 Golden Globe, Broken
Embraces has the trademark of the Pedro Almodovar’s film
legacies; sensual, humorous, and heart warming. While this film features Penelope Cruz, she doesn’t play
the main character in the plot, even though her character is
drama is a complex love triangle in which a blind film
director has to reveal a dark secret of the past but his
sorrow ends when he is empowered to give a lost love a
different ending through cinematography.
The way in
which the film is presented is clever since it leads the
audience to believe an expected ending, yet toward the end one
scene changes the course of the film allowing the imagination to
flow and your mind to brainstorm how to resume the broken
embraces. Pedro Almodovar continues to delight us with his vision and
DVD: The film is presented in widescreen with a
2.35:1 aspect ration preserving its theatrical
format. Looks clean images without any types of color
saturation. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has done it
again with this transfer. Not only the picture looks
good in this version of the film, also the sound it is
good. A Dolby Digital Spanish and French 5.1
providing a nice complement to the picture. The main problem
for some people will be the absent of English audio. It also includes
In terms of Special Features
the DVD includes plenty of material worth watching. It includes will include deleted scenes, two Featurettes, Q&A with Penélope Cruz and an original short film by Almodóvar.
Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1)
Digital 5.1 Surround - French and Spanish
Subtitles - English
“Pedro Directs Penélope” Featurette
“On the Red Carpet: The New York Film Festival Closing Night” Featurette
“Variety Q & A with Penélope Cruz”
“The Cannibalistic Councillor” (La Concejala Antropófaga) – an original short film by Pedro Almodóvar.
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