Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Pedro Almodovar's film "Broken Embraces" is a complex tale, or rather series of interwoven tales, about love, loss and obsession. It features (of course) Penelope Cruz as the mistress of one man and the lover of another. The other lead actor is Lluis Holmar, who plays a blind film director/screen writer.
This film is so full of images and complexity, I'll focus on the central image conveyed by the title. There is much brokenness in this series of interwoven stories. There is the brokenness of Lena (Cruz) who hates the powerful man she is living with. She wants to escape this loveless relationship, but only does so through death.
Mateo Blanco (Holmar) who, after being blinded in an auto accident, takes on the pseudonym Harry Caine. His brokenness is multiple. He is alienated from his son and the son's mother. He becomes close to another young man, whom he learns is his son. He is also devastated by a former lover's betrayal.
"Broken embraces" is an image that captures the difficulty and complexity of human relationships. The "embrace" stands for the closeness of intimacy and parental love. Embraces are inevitably broken by a variety of acts of betrayal, mistrust and selfishness. However, in these same relationships forgiveness and reconciliation is possible so that a new embrace results. The truth conveyed in "broken embraces" is that life is a series of embraces that are broken and then reassembled in new ways.