Ktismatics

9 December 2009

Broken Embraces by Almodóvar, 2009

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 1:31 pm

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12 Comments »

  1. Eloise Eloise Eloise why didn’t you TELL ME…you saw it!!!

    Did you also notice the link with Peretz? Quickly… tell me…

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 9 December 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  2. Saw it the night before last. The connection with Peretz must be explored. Certainly the blind Harry Kaine wasn’t a mystical visionary of the Platonic old school. He didn’t see outside the frame; he saw through the frame or, better, between the frames. This movie could have deployed the split-screen approach of DePalma, but instead we have two parallel movies: the comedy and the “documentary.” We have the split between the Harry and Mateo identities. Harry’s blindness is the blank space between frames, between realities: the place where seeing-through opens up. So too did hearing open up the truth for the “deaf” Martel as he watched Penelope Cruz walk away on screen and in real life.

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    Comment by john doyle — 9 December 2009 @ 3:39 pm

  3. Harry’s blindness is the blank space between frames, between realities: the place where seeing-through opens up. So too did hearing open up the truth for the “deaf” Martel as he watched Penelope Cruz walk away on screen and in real life.

    Do you have some examples of this? How does the seeing-through open up?

    What also drew me was the Peeping Tom subtext (the rich man’s son).

    I feel this is a crucial film of the century, or one of them certainly.

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    Comment by the voice of parodic reason — 11 December 2009 @ 2:55 am

  4. Traxus has a post up about ‘Southland Tales’. Shouldn’t you be contributing there? Off-topic, I know, I haven’t seen this film here.

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    Comment by Ray Fuller — 11 December 2009 @ 1:45 pm

    • I’m guessing you’re referring to vopr, inasmuch as I wasn’t much taken with Southland Tales. Neither were you as I recall, Ray. And now that I’ve looked at the American Stranger post I see that Traxus isn’t a fan either. On somewhat related note, I’ve recently fallen asleep halfway through two movies: Dogville by von Trier and The Sacrifice by Tarkovsky. I’m not sure I’ll make myself watch the rest of either one.

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      Comment by john doyle — 11 December 2009 @ 4:20 pm

      • True, of course, John. It’s just he has so little time to blawg, I think people even forget to look over there, and he always puts a lot of care into his posts. He certainly isn’t going to care that you hate that piece of doodoo.

        I love it that you fell asleep in ‘Dogville’ and ‘The Sacrifice’. Confucius say ‘This mean you have long life’. Maybe get Anne to take a picture of you sleeping through one of your required bullshit movies. My favourite thing you ever posted was your GET OUT posters, because only time anybody ever picketed in their own home, I think.

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        Comment by ray fuller — 11 December 2009 @ 5:21 pm

  5. “How does the seeing-through open up?”

    Well, let’s think about how the story plays out. The break between the comedy film and the “documentary” stalker film becomes a blindness for Mateo/Harry. How? His desire for the leading lady leads to his editor and Martel destroying his artistic vision for the movie he’s making. But then finally Harry looks into his blind spot, this gap between the vision he’d filmed and the unwatchable thing his film had been turned into by the stalkers. And what does Harry see? I don’t think he merely recaptures his original directorial vision from when he was impassionately making the film. I think he sees through his narrow-vision passion — which is dead and buried after all — to a broader vision of passion. He can’t see Penelope the dead lover any more, but now he “sees” her art as an actress. And in so doing he recaptures his own passion as an artist, which died with his Mateo identity. There’s nothing in it for him any more — his love is gone, his career is a shambles — but still he re-edits the film. Why? Because he sees the passion of art now, which must be honored. Yes?

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    Comment by john doyle — 11 December 2009 @ 4:46 pm

  6. I don’t think he merely recaptures his original directorial vision from when he was impassionately making the film. I think he sees through his narrow-vision passion — which is dead and buried after all — to a broader vision of passion.

    Maybe this will happen to you as well in your writer’s block? But anyway I think this is a good take I am just not sure about the broader vision: his call to ”finish the film” sounded to me like the film would never be finished, and would be continuously remade instead. it seemed to me like he finds ecstasy in this idea of a constant near-death experience.

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    Comment by vopr — 11 December 2009 @ 5:57 pm

  7. dogville had several good things in it, including a scene in which two citizens of the invisible city have sex and everybody around them acts as if they don’t see it because of the virtual walls. i also liked the metaphorizing in the end of the old testamental god being invoked for the sake of revenge. i suppose it was an effective criticism of bush policies, although to make an effective critique of bush in EUROPE isn’t any kind of a powerful statement at all and reeks of pretentious elitism.

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    Comment by vopr — 11 December 2009 @ 5:59 pm

  8. Interesting idea about Harry continually re-editing, keeping himself perpetually in the presence of the dead. I didn’t see it that way, but maybe I’ll have another look at the end.

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    Comment by john doyle — 11 December 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  9. Last night we watched Bad Lieutenant of New Orleans or whatever it’s called by Werner Herzog, and I stayed awake right to the end. Entertaining, though tying up all the loose plot-ends was an unfortunate move. As the self-consuming fox said, “Chaos reigns.” On the other hand, the drug-addled Nicholas Cage character retained his shrewd efficiency throughout, which was part of the point. That’s what makes him a Herzog character: he survives in a way that’s part ubermensch, part reptile. So okay, the ending is fine.

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    Comment by john doyle — 12 December 2009 @ 4:26 am

  10. “his call to ”finish the film” sounded to me like the film would never be finished, and would be continuously remade instead.”

    I don’t think so. The director’s wife says the new edit is wonderful; her son tells the director he has to rerelease it. The directors says “No, what matters is to finish it. Films have to be finished, even if you do it blindly” And that’s the last line of the movie, and that’s the tie-in to the blindness and to Peretz. The earlier edit of the movie had been released, but it wasn’t finished. Now it will be.

    We just watched “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” That’s the movie they were shooting in Broken Embraces; the extended clip of the re-edit duplicates scenes from the original movie — with some significant changes.

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    Comment by john doyle — 25 December 2009 @ 8:48 pm


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