Tuesday, August 28, 2012
No filmmaker of the past 25 years has enjoyed as close a relationship with NYFF as Spain’s Pedro Almodóvar, who was “born” (his word) at the 1988 festival with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and has since returned eight additional times, most recently in 2011 with The Skin I Live In. In this 2002 masterwork, for which he would go on to win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar (and a nomination as Best Director), Almodóvar weaves together two bizarre love stories that could exist in no other filmmaker’s cosmos. Travel writer Marco (Dario Grandinetti) meets celebrated female matador Lydia (Rosario Flores), who, just as they’re getting to know each other, is gored and slips into a coma. While Marco waits patiently at her hospital bedside, he meets the male nurse Benigno (Javier Camara), who watches with similar care and devotion over the comatose Alicia (Leonor Watling), a ballet dancer with whom he is madly in love. With his trademark dark humor and heightened emotional expressiveness, Almodóvar follows these two men and the unresponsive objects of their affections, as well as their own burgeoning friendship with each other, all the way to a finale that is as startling as it is unexpectedly moving. Gorgeously photographed by Javier Aguirresarobe and set to a spectacular soundtrack that includes performances by Caetano Veloso and Tom Jobim, Talk to Her also features a rare filmed performance of Pina Bausch’s legendary Café Müller ballet, featuring Bausch herself as one of the dancers.
“An extraordinary film that blends melodrama and black comedy into something deeply moving and utterly unique.” —NYFF40 program note
“One of the 100 greatest films of all time.” —Richard Schickel, Time
“It's the most mature work this director has ever brought to the screen. His fearlessness used to lend itself to bizarre, wild plot turns that suggested he was out to tickle himself, a practical joker who loved giving his own pictures a hot foot. The jabbering neuroses of his chattering characters grew out of Mr. Almodóvar himself; there was something lovable about his compulsive desire to entertain. Now the movies have the freakish, elegant calm of early Tennessee Williams, and the dramatic information is slipped into the movie with devastating panache: a love tap delivered with the force of a speeding car.” —Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times
Images courtesy of EL DESEO / THE KOBAL COLLECTION / BRACHO, MIGUEL