Pedro Almodovar is Spanish film director, screenwriter and producer. In late 2011. He released the new movie La Piel que Habito, in English translation The Skin I live in. This movie is going to be shown on International Film Festival in Belgrade very soon. Since, I have seen it already, decided to write a short review about the new Almodovar’s movie. I have seen lot of His works. Some of Them are really masterpieces.
Why Do people like His movies??
Almodovar movies are social drama, very often tragi-comic. He covers topics mostly as: gender identity, passion, religion, love and life. The Drama with a touch of thriller, often ends with murder, mostly caused by passion. But the most interesting things about Almodovar’s movies are the funny and comic sides of Them. Precisely, I mean the movies as: Kika, Volver, High Heels, Atame, Woman on the verge of nervous break down, Matador and some others. I like the realistic and social side, but also that movies are hilarious and amusing to watch. Dialogues are the most important to watch and follow and then crazy adventures that slowly appears. The big difference from American production is that movies are very deep, talking about real life and human nature, also show Spanish society and cities. The films are usually set in Madrid, the capital of Spain, which is very fun city. I can judge by my personal experience. I visited Madrid in 2008. Comparing to Barcelona, Madrid is very real Spanish place. So this is maybe what Almodovar wants to show to the audience, the true Spain. Often in films One can catch scenes and architecture of the city, followed by great music and soundtracks. Just remember music from High Heels. Personally, I love the most Almodovar’s phases from the 80’s and the early 90’s. My favorites are: Atame (Tie Me up, Tie me down), Kika, Matador, Woman on the verge of nervous break down and couple of other older movies. But, I think the real masterpieces were Carne Tremula (Live Flesh) from 1997. , also Todo sobre mi madre (All about my mother) from 1999. and Hablle con Ella (Talk with Her) from 2002. Those movies are not my favorites for two simple reasons: there is no humor and movies are too much heavy for my taste, but I think They are His best works ever.
He often chooses the same actors. There’s no lot of characters in the movies. I really appreciate that He doesn’t need millions of dollars to make a good movie, but I guess this rule applies to all European movie school. The main actors were usually Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Garcia Bernal, Carmen Maura, Victoria Abril. Openly gay Pedro, has a great sense of aesthetics, so main characters are often good-looking. Spanish movie production made Them big and respected movie stars. Minor character in His movies is usually very ugly/beautiful Rosii de Palma, the woman with cubistic face structure. Resembles of characters from famous Picasso’s picture Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. There is no good guys and bad guys in the movies, all characters are crazy in Their own way and facing many problems. As, I sad already Pedro is openly gay, that is probably the reason He inserted underground gay and transgender culture in mainstream, braking taboos and making real social themes. Films are often colorful and made with a touch of aesthetics. With His works Almodovar changed perception of modern European cinematography for ever. Movie critics often complain about how He uses the same topics and making the similar movies all over again. I personally think that He is one of the best and very unique film director.
This new film The Skin I live in is very Almodovar’s style. Sick and twisted. Scenes are very beautiful, followed by great music. Starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, Roberto Alamo, Blanca Suarez. beautiful Elena Anaya has just become part of the permanent Almodovar’s setup, since She already had a role in masterpiece Talk with Her. Topic is based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel Tarantula. Has many influences by French horror movie Eyes without the face and Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
The new movie is set up in Toledo, a small old town near Madrid. The main characters are Antonio Banderas as lunatic innovative plastic surgeon and Elena as Vera. All characters are not really normal, but that is what We used to watch in Spanish film production.
But, what is normal in present society??? Think about that…… Which are the standards that We need to exceed in order to society declare as abnormal???
There’s couple of authors who studied and wrote about this topic as French thinker Michael Foucault and nowdays Judith Butler.
So, to get back to the movie. Plastic surgeon is very innovative and works with skin transplantation. He has unhappy background. Lives with a maid, who is actually His mother. Since, He didn’t get promission to explore studies on humans, He found a victim not accidentally elected of course for experiments. This victim is a young guy who will become beautiful Vera.
I recommend Pedro’s new film. I think it’s excellent, much better then His last two movies. I am not sure if every movie need to have an aim. But, if I bypass the fact that in postmodern art audience don’t need to understand the author of the work or to think what He wanted to tell, probably the aim was to show that We can change Our hair, skin, entire appearance but We can’t change Who We actually are. Our brain, actions, sexual identities and preferences.
Almodovar with His muse Rosii de Palma
Almodovar with His muse Penelope Cruz