|It took a long time before I realised this was a drawing.|
|An accurate representation of all Spaniards, ever.|
A quickfire plot outline: Renowned surgeon, Robert Ledgard, has successfully developed a new artifical skin capable of withstanding huge amounts of damage, all from the private lab in his home in the countryside. But in his home he also hides Vera, the mysterious woman who has become his living test subject, kept away from the outside world under lock and key. Both are hiding something about their past, no-one actually has a moustache, and everybody is fucking crazy.
|Peeps be major coo-coo.|
But to be a little more specific, Antonio Banderas. Ugh. That man. I'm used to seeing him in much more flamboyant roles (The Mask of Zorro, Take the Lead, Spy Kids), so to have him being all mysterious and dark and brooding like this; giving so little away yet still coming across as such a powerful force to reckon with. Oh, my loins!
|And he's smart too. Take me, Doctor.|
So yeah, we've got Banderas and Anaya riffing off each other to create this great atmosphere brimming with unsaid words and tension. Sexy tension. Tension galvanized by a beautifully uneasy score by Alberto Iglesias, conservative set design, and that splendidly staged, pseudo-clinical cinematography that I adore oh so much.
|There's the money maker. A superbly framed shot of another superbly framed shot.|
Although, if put down on paper, the general plot sounds like a scrapped script for a bad soap opera (family trauma; rape; more family trauma; weird sort-of-rape; gender identity; evil sons; kidnapping; more definitely-rape-this-time rape), Almodovar has somehow managed to take so many heavy themes and shove them into a highly stylised, erotically-charged environment without ending up with a heap of incongruous melodrama. It's amazing the deftness with which he has handled difficult issues that many other films have tried (and possibly failed) to explore and made them palatable yet still relevant; creating a film which feels more like a visual essay than it does a piece of entertainment.
|"Where'd everyone go? There's a free lunch at the end..."|
|Albeit a very gay looking one.|
I could go on and on about what it all means, because there's so much to talk about. The weird-as-fuck depiction of the parent-child relationship; the way in which Ledgard's actions reflect his desire to regain control of his life and contact with the wife and child he'd lost; the representation of Vera's skin as something that was violated, her most basic of physiological protection torn down and replaced, and yet the experience somehow strengthening her. It's all there and it's all endlessly fascinating!
|Also, bewbs. Ah shit, I think I just negated all that feminist stuff.|
|Don't mind me, I'm just arbitrarily extending my post with more pictures of lovely cinematography.|
|It shall henceforth be known as the Sexy Metaphor Cube.|
The Einstein -
Full-bodied and eye-catching, but hiding something even smarter and deeper than you ever realised underneath.