Five films by acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. 'Bad Education' (2004) is a semi-autobiographical melodrama that follows the intertwining stories of two boys, Enrique (Fele Martinez) and Ignacio (Gael Garcia Bernal), who fall in love at an abusive Catholic school and are parted by a jealous paedophile priest. 16 years later, Enrique, now a successful filmmaker, is casting about for an idea for a new film when a young cross-dressing actor, claiming to be Ignacio but known as 'Angel', approaches him with a short story based on their schooldays together. In 'Talk To Her' (2002), Benigno (Javier Cámara) is a housebound nurse who falls in love with a young dancer, Alicia (Leonor Watling), he sees rehearsing through his window. Marco (Darío Grandinetti) is a journalist who falls in love with a bullfighter, Lydia (Rosario Flores), after being assigned to interview her. When Alicia and Lydia are involved in separate accidents which send them both into a comas, Benigno and Marco meet at the hospital and unpredictable consequences promptly ensue. In 'All About My Mother' (1999), single mother Manuela (Cecilia Roth) takes her 17-year-old son, Esteban (Eloy Azorin), to see a stage performance of 'A Streetcar Named Desire' as a birthday treat. Tragically, Esteban is killed when he chases after a taxi carrying his favourite actress, Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes). Consumed with guilt, Manuela decides to go in search of Esteban's father, whose identity she never revealed to her son. In 'Live Flesh' (1997), an adaptation of the novel by Ruth Rendell, Victor Plaza (Liberto Rabal) goes to meet drug-addicted diplomat's daughter Elena (Francesca Neri) after losing his virginity to her. She barely remembers anything about the past, however, and attempts to shoot him. Two cops, David (Javier Bardem) and Sancho (José Sancho), arrive at the scene, and David is shot, leaving him paralysed. Victor finds himself imprisoned for the shooting, although he is innocent. In jail, he learns that David, now a paralympics champion, has married Elena, and vows revenge upon his release. In black comedy 'Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!' (1990), Marina (Victoria Abril) is a soft-porn actress with two men in her life: one, the wheelchair-bound director of her films, is obsessed with her and leaves endless messages on her answering machine; the other, Ricky (Antonio Banderas), has recently been released from a psychiatric hospital and is determined to father her children. Ricky attacks her in her flat, holds her hostage and ties her to the bed in the hope she eventually becomes a willing participant in his plan.
Writer/director Pedro Almodóvar's dark, sexy Hitchcock homage is his best work since his Oscar-winning All About My Mother
, and deepened by a sun-dappled sadness. Handsome, enigmatic Ángel (Gael García Bernal) arrives at the Spanish movie offices of director Enrique Goded (Fele Martinez) and happily proclaims that he's actually Enrique's long-lost school chum Ignacio--an announcement that is both less than convincing and more than it seems. A novice actor, Ángel pitches a semi-autobiographical screenplay in which he's determined to star, a revenge-laden reflection of the doomed love he and Enrique shared as boys before a paedophile priest cruelly intervened. The script, and the lost days it recalls, carefully unfurls into a series of brooding movies-within-movies and memories-inside-memories, which allow the sensual, multiple-role-playing Bernal to give the performance of his young career--among other things, he makes a stunningly convincing drag queen--and Almodóvar the opportunity to suggest, movingly, that people will pay any price to ensure that their stories are told. -- Steve Wiecking
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