447 words on Films
Ever since I first saw Todo sobre mi madre a few years ago, I’ve been quite impressed by Pedro Almodóvar’s work. And that’s not only because the film plainly looks good or because it’s full of subtle cross-references (of which I’m sure that I haven’t spotted all) but even more because he manages to make a film like this work. Writing or talking about the film and what happens in it, invariable seems inadequate.
It seems inadequate because, written down on paper, the whole setup is absurd. Just tell about the people about the film, the dead teenager, his sad mother, the father he never knew and who’s a transvestite, the actress with a drug habit, the pregnant nun… all that’s getting you nowhere it might seem. Yet, in the film, it all fits together and makes sense. You don’t notice the absurdity. And that’s great.
Almodóvar’s latest film, La mala Educación, doesn’t quite match that standard, in my opinion, but is good nonetheless. I’m not even trying to tell its story here, as it has got many twists and telling all of it may spoil things anyway. Let’s just say there are two boys together at a church boarding school. There is abuse by priests. The boys fall in love. One of them becomes a writer and gets himself some tits while the other one becomes a director who eventually makes a film about their youth.
That already sounds like it’d suffice for lots of twists and trouble, but it’s only about half of the story. So things get to be a bit messy. And by the time I have written them down you could’ve seen the film. To write this up properly, I’d also need to see the film again. It seems like there are loads of details and also historical references in there – many of which I probably missed so far. It’s also surprisingly (for film website standards) interesting to visit the film’s website where Almodóvar offers quite a few comments on what is going on and what it doesn’t mean. I like it when films work on multiple levels, even if that makes it hard to tell their story.
Finally let me say that this film again looks very good. The scenery, the decoration, the clothes, the people – all very pleasant to look at and very well coordinated. I wonder how much time they spent trying to just find shirts of the right colour and then making sure they find furniture and paint to go well with it (or are these things just adjusted in a computer these days?). In the end, everything looks good, but a bit artificial.
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