Combustible Celluloid
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With: Antonio Banderas, Javier Bardem, Rossy de Palma, Cecilia Roth, Penelope Cruz, Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti, Geraldine Chaplin, Gael Garcia Bernal, etc.
Written by: Pedro Almodovar
Directed by: Pedro Almodovar
MPAA Rating: Various
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Running Time: -99
Date: 03/18/2013

Viva Pedro (2006)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Redness of Almodovar

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

If any foreign language director is a household name in America, it's Pedro Almodovar. He continues to make films in his own voice, using his own unique sensibility. His tone is often broad and sentimental, which rubs directly against American audiences' taste for the realistic. Many of his films feature gay characters, and Almodovar is openly gay himself. Some of his characters could qualify as freaks, perhaps more at home in a John Waters film. He hasn't yet "sold out" and made an English language film. Despite all this, somehow he's seduced nearly everyone in the film community; highbrow, middlebrow and lowbrow critics continually praise his films, audiences love them, and he has won two Academy Awards (Best Foreign Language Film for All About My Mother and Best Screenplay for Talk to Her). This same material in other hands usually ends up in the margins or the subject of considerable controversy, but Almodovar has long been a comfortable guest in American cineplexes.

In celebration of this uncommon career, Sony Pictures Classics has restored and re-mastered eight Almodovar films: Matador (1986), Law of Desire (1987), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), Flower of My Secret (1995), Live Flesh (1997), All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002) and Bad Education (2004), and is re-releasing them in various theaters. Subsequently, the DVDs of these titles will go on moratorium.

Note: more reviews to come!

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