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Live Flesh [DVD] [1998]

Liberto Rabal , Francesca Neri , Pedro Almodóvar    DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: £13.54
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Frequently Bought Together

Live Flesh [DVD] [1998] + High Heels [DVD] + Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Liberto Rabal, Francesca Neri, Javier Bardem, Ángela Molina, José Sancho
  • Directors: Pedro Almodóvar
  • Writers: Pedro Almodóvar, Jorge Guerricaechevarría, Ray Loriga, Ruth Rendell
  • Producers: Agustín Almodóvar
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004ZE3N
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 288,758 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Almodovar Masterpiece 19 July 2004
"Live Flesh" starts with Victor Plaza being born on a bus in Franco's Spain in 1970 and ends, twenty six years later, with... well, I wont spoil the ending; but typically with Almodovar, it is fitting and poetic. In between, we follow Victor on his journey into manhood, as he learns the hard way about disillusion, betrayal, love, life, death, and tragedy.
As a young man, Victor believes that a one-off sexual encounter with a beautiful Italian junkie is something more than it is, and pesters her to such an extent that she draws a gun on him in order to get him to leave. A struggle ensues. The gun accidentally goes off, and although noone is hurt, it brings the unwelcome attention of two policemen. Another struggle ensues. Another shot is fired. One of the policemen is paralysed from the waist down. From then on, all four of their lives become tragically entwined; with deception and misunderstanding leading towards bitterness and envy. Inevitably, the lies are stripped away, unwanted truths are revealed, and all the various dilemmas are resolved amidst a scene of emotional and actual carnage.
This must sound like heady stuff, almost melodramatic? It is. This is Almodovar, after all. There is the usual complex plotting that reveals the strains that pull apart and bring together relationships while the emotional lives of the characters are laid bare. There is the relentless drive to resolve the emotional dilemmas while avoiding sentimentality. In short, there are all the usual touches that one expects from Almodovar, including the wonderful acting from the cast. Wonderful! A film that will draw you back again and again and again.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almodovar brings us the birth of self and nation 24 Jan 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This film is amongst Almodovar's finest. He turns his skills to where they truly excel, relationships.
The relationships are those of family, birth and adoptive, friends, lovers, spouses, the able bodied and the disabled, the law breaker and the enforcer. The characters grow with their newly liberated madrid.
Almodovar explores how one arrives at identity, and what can challenge it. His characters are complex, his dialogue well paced. He leads the viewer from compassion to frustration to sadness and back again through many and varied routes. His filming is evocative of madrid in the 1950s and today, always showing a great affection for his homeland.
Victor is born as Madrid regains democratic rule. A chance encounter with Elena shapes his life and that of David, both as individuals and as eachother's motivation for the choices they make. They save eachother, use each other, have complex loyalties and one's betryal is the other's honesty. The real strength of this film is that they live as people - like those people we have all shared bottles of wine, and "what to do next conversations" with. Chickflick? Not at all, Almodovar is fond of all his characters and all of their flaws, which makes this very rewarding viewing.
If none of this convinces you that you must see this film and see it again and tell all your friends to see it, then perhaps this will persuade you - it has the best scene on men watching sport together of any film i have ever seen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining 24 April 2012
I picked this up at a car boot sale some years ago, with a guilty feeling I should check out more of Almodovar's work. After viewing it, I still want to check out more of his work. I have seen "Tie Me Up! Time Me Down!" quite a few years ago, but can't really remember it. This doesn't seem one of his best reviewed works, and yet I found plenty to enjoy, so I hope for more treats to come. He has an arresting visual style, the story was fun, if massively contrived and requiring a fair amount of suspension of disbelief, and the performances were largely superb.

Possibly the weakest of the quintet is the lead, Victor (played by Liberto Rabal). He's good looking, and plays it well enough - certainly not bad to watch - but I couldn't help feeling he wasn't getting everything out of the character. It certainly wasn't as nuanced as the characters David, played by Javier Bardem (with the intensity of a young Oliver Reed), Elena, played by the gorgeous Francesca Neri, and especially the aging Clara, played wonderfully by Angela Molina. Even Sancho (played by Jose, err, Sancho), the smallest role of the five, offered more in the acting chops than Rabal, who the film revolved around, and had the vast majority of the screen time. True, innocence is not as fun to play as aging cynicism or brooding failure, but I couldn't help feeling some extra charisma might have been beneficial. But that is nitpicking - overall, the acting is plenty good enough to help the viewer glide over the waves of disbelief.

After seeing Victor born on a bus in the middle of the night, the son of a prostitute, we rejoin him twenty years later, as a pizza delivery boy in love with a heroin addict he had a tryst with the week before. She was so high she can hardly remember it, and demands he leave her alone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A darker, more serious, more 'grown-up' Almodovar 26 July 2010
By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER
A maturing Almodovar in a less absurd - if still melodramatic - mode than his early films. This time the tone is more film noir/mystery/character study. Unlike most of the early work, this is generally `serious', with just touches of his humor. Visually very striking and dark. Wonderful performances, including an early one by Javier Bardem.

I appreciate how all the characters are grey, no one is `good' or bad'. Basically it's a love triangle with multiple angles, and a cop drama about violence and love. What it's missing (for me at least) , and keeps it a very good film, not a great one, is deeper levels of emotion. It's always interesting, but I didn't ultimately find it affecting. Also a couple of key plot contrivances are clunky - which the anarchic young Almodovar could get away with, since everything was absurd anyway. But when you're being more `real', forced twists feel more... well, forced. Still a highly enjoyable film well worth seeing, and another important step in the growth of a major filmmaker.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Live Flesh - gripping story combined with great camera and acting
Anyone who wants to watch a movie that keeps one's focus throughought will be delighted viewing this film. Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2009 by Miss E. Rys
1.0 out of 5 stars The Worst Ruth Rendell Dramatisation Ever
I cannot believe the reviews I've just read. Not only does this film have no bearing on Ruth Rendell's book of the same title, it's pretentious junk - and boring as well. Read more
Published on 5 Feb 2009 by vee1534
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity.
A fascinating painting of humanity of latin temperament at times tragic at times funny, well acted and photographed showing us that being just human with all its weaknesses is not... Read more
Published on 2 Feb 2009 by Mr. Hans Boonen
4.0 out of 5 stars Cutting the cord.
Victor is born on a late night bus, and together with his free bus pass for life we follow him after a life changing event which results in him being sentenced to jail over a... Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2008 by @GeekZilla9000
4.0 out of 5 stars Exuberant and unhibited story
I watched this as I was interested to see how the Ruth Rendell novel translated onto film. The film bears so little resemblance to the book I'm amazed that any reference is made... Read more
Published on 2 Sep 2007 by Bluebell
4.0 out of 5 stars Live Flesh
Great early Almodovar film, with the now infamously small part played by Penelope Cruz as the mother at the start of the story. Read more
Published on 26 April 2007 by S. Paez
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of the old wildness
I greatly prefer early Almodóvar to more recents films by the Spanish filmmaker, as I find that he has evolved into yet another entirely palatable, slightly bland,... Read more
Published on 4 Oct 2003 by Michael Bo
4.0 out of 5 stars Ruth Rendell made watchable?
I normally despise the Ruth Rendell dramatisations that are on ITV so often. In fact the only reason I bought this film was to see the lovely Penelope Cruz even though she is only... Read more
Published on 17 Feb 2002 by Dave Bishop
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