Thursday, July 10, 2008

Film Club meets Pedro Almodovar

Well, all right, we didn't actually meet the man himself. Mrs The Millbrooker and I have experienced one of his films before: the cartoonish, achingly funny and utterly, barkingly wonderful "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown"; Shazzerooneypoos and Frankenkeith had not. Until last night.

Last night's offering was the 2006 Oscar nominated "Volver". The word volver translates from the Spanish as "to return", which makes sense once you've flown headlong through the film's classically Almodovar-ian plots.

The film stars Penelope Cruz looking drop-dead gorgeous as Raimunda. Raimunda is the only (and barely) sane character in a parade of colourful eccentricity.

The plot centres around the interweaving of family relationships, their breakdown and eventual resolution. Naturally, this being a film by the legendary Pedro Almodovar, the family is wildly off-the-wall and its relationships are strained and unusual.
The cast is almost entirely female, with men relegated to portraying lazy layabouts and background colour (quiet in the cheap seats, I know that's how many ladies think of us anyway). The women's neuroses and foibles are brought into sharp focus against the flamboyantly colourful locations and sets (another Almodovar trademark). The plot unfolds slowly, revealing its "return" in semi-comic and always entertaining style, and Almodovar injects wit and pathos in equal measure into his lively screenplay.

If you like your films quirky, funny, a bit challenging and unafraid of difficult subject matter then this one's for you. The subtitles do move at a rapid rate, so make sure your spectacles are perched on the old proboscis before the action starts, or you'll miss loads.

A thumbs up from Film Club - Shazzerooneypoos enjoyed it hugely. Frankenkeith arrived about halfway through and consequently got a bit confused, but as he'd spent the intervening time rescuing a dog up on Rame Head and making some distraught holidaymakers happy at the pooch's safe return we gladly forgave his tardiness and explained what he'd been watching.

Bravo, Almodovar - must put some more of his stuff on the "to watch" list.

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