Spain, 2010, 127 min, Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, Rated R, Spanish with English subtitles
“Penélope Cruz with Almodóvar makes Broken Embraces soar. She has never been more luminous, serious or sexy.” – Richard Corliss, Time Magazine
“Pedro Almodóvar loves the movies with lust and abandon, and the skill of an experienced lover. Broken Embraces is a voluptuary of a film, caressing Penélope Cruz.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
The news of the death of powerful Madrilenian businessman Ernesto Martel (José Luis Gómez) forces Harry Caine (Lluís Homar), a blind man who was once a film writer/director, to confront his tragic past. Magdalena (Penélope Cruz) was the star of Caine’s last feature, Girls and Suitcases, with a plot similar to Almodóvar’s own Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Although she was Martel’s much-younger girlfriend at the time, the director and actress fell ferociously in love during filming. The film-within-a-film, combining multiple genres, brings together love, obsession, voyeurism and melancholy in a moving meditation on filmmaking and cinema.
There’s no greater joy for a film programmer than to come across a totally original filmmaker, in complete command of his domain, whose work resembles no one else’s. Such was my elation at discovering the films of Pedro Almodóvar and programming them - for the first time in the U.S. - starting in 1984, year one of the Miami Film Festival. Today, he’s not only the most celebrated Spanish filmmaker, but one of the world’s greatest directors, period. Our series surveys ten classics made over the course of 25 years, and feature not only his famous ensemble, fondly referred to as chicos y chicas Almodóvar, but also actors like Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem who went on to international stardom.
CGAC Director of Programming Nat Chediak was founder/director of the Miami Film Festival (1984-2001).
Program notes adapted from MoMA’s Almodóvar retrospective.