Broken Embraces Los Abrazos

Starring Penelope Cruz, Jose Luis Gomez and Lluis Homar. Directed by Pedro Almodovar
Rated M (sex scenes, drug use and coarse language). 128 mins.

Almodovar, light.
After the serious themes of his films from the last ten years or more, Almodovar takes a more relaxed approach to a film about film-making and obsessions, light with serious touches.

The film opens mysteriously with a blind screenwriter who used to be a director.  When he hears news of the death of a tycoon in Madrid, it initiates a story about the tycoon's son wanting to make a film about/against his father.  This leads to memories and flashbacks:  the tycoon and his secretary, Lena, her becoming his mistress, her wanting to act in films, her involvement in the film and the tycoon producing, her affair with the director.  The son, meanwhile, is on set and videos everything.  What happens doesn't need rocket science to anticipate.  Rather, it is the pleasure of watching the glossy proceedings with Almodovar's elegant and colourful touches and the performances.  Jose Luis Gomez is the sinister, obsessed tycoon, Lluis Homar is the director.  Blanca Portillo is very strong as the agent who has kept secrets for years.

And, of course, Penelope Cruz who can't but help illuminate the screen with her charm, beauty and presence.

Paramount Out December 17

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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