Category Archives: Almodovar

Pedro peels back the layers.

Film Review: THE SKIN I LIVE IN

directed by Pedro Almodovar.

Pedro Almodovar is thankfully a prolific filmmaker, every couple of years unleashing another cinematic treat. I always look forward to the next film by ‘Almodovar’ and even when they are not ‘one of his best’, they are far better than most other films on offer. “The Skin I Live In” is no exception. Full of all the usual Almodovarian trademarks – sensational design, sensual cinematography and seductive music, alongside melodrama, mayhem and madness. His themes of yearning and loss are also intact. This time he tackles his first ‘horror’ movie and he relishes the genre, bending it and twisting it and having a lot of fun doing it. Reunited with an actor whom he can lay claim to discovering, Antonio Banderas who portrays Robert Ledgard a mad doctor in the vein of Frankenstein – a hugely successful plastic surgeon with vengeance on his mind. He is deeply affected by the death of his wife and daughter. We meet him as his obsession to create a perfect skin treatment that will revolutionise his field is revealed to his peers. Meanwhile back at his very stylish mansion on the outskirts of Toledo he has a strange young woman (his monster) in captivity, a secret experiment only known to one other, his loyal housekeeper Marilia played wonderfully by Marisa Peredes (a Pedro regular, most famously in All About My Mother) . Who is this girl? (Elena Anaya in a very touching performance) Where has she come from? Why is she here? All will be revealed in a tantalising fashion that will not disappoint any fans of the directors oeuvre. While some may argue that this movie is a lesser film, I disagree and believe that it stands high up there with many others, particularly of the “Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down” and “Kika” period. It may seem a little cold and detached but I think that is intended. Make what you will of the messages – identity being a major player, it is a moving, strange, funny, wicked and at times very creepy film well worth time spent in a darkened theatre.

“The Skin I Live In” opens in Australia on boxing day December 26.

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Sneak peek, new ALMODOVAR

Watch A Teaser Of Pedro Almodóvar’s New Thriller iThe Skin That I Live In/i.

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verge of a breakdown???

The musical version of “Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown”  had its first audience preview in New York last night. The posts on the message board of broadwayworld.com indicate that the Broadway fans are not happy at all. Mind you it is the first preview, and it is coming in cold with no out of town try-out at all. I am sure there is a lot of work to do. I do hope they can pull it off, it has such promise. It will be interesting (to me) to follow the progress. These seasoned posters are a vicious opinionated bunch. If I had my way (and the money), I would love to sit in on every preview of a totally new Broadway musical, just to see how they shape it. Would be fascinating.

copywrite – Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

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meet the all new singing “Women On The Verge”.

Here is a first look glimpse at 3 Broadway divas who are in rehearsal for the upcoming Broadway musical “Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown“. An adaptation of the 1988 Pedro Almodovar film. The musical goes into previews at the newly renovated Belasco theatre on Oct 2, with opening night scheduled for Nov 4. It appears to be a classy venture. Presented by the Lincoln Centre, it is being directed by Bartlett Sher, and designed by Michael Yeargan, the same creative team behind the hugely successful revival of South Pacific.

Composer-lyricist is David Yazbek and book writer is Jeffrey Lane, who collaborated on Broadway’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”.

Let’s hope it fares better than the recent stage adaptation of another Almodovar film – “All About My Mother”, of which I have previously posted.

[Fall_Theater]

left to right, Sherie Rene Scott, Patti Lupone and Laura Benanti

Also in the cast is Brian Stokes Mitchell & Danny Bernstein.

The original film cast.

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upcoming Almodovar.

I am happy to report that filming has commenced in Spain on a new Pedro Almodovar film. Although, apparently on the first day of filming, the rain in Spain fell on the plain, filming was interrupted due to a downpour, causing temporary production chaos.

La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In).

Reuniting with Almodovar after 20 years is Antonio Banderas in the lead role. He plays a plastic surgeon bent on revenge against the men who raped his daughter. It is based on Thierry Jonquet’s novel “Tarantula”.

Joining him in the cast is Elena Aneya (Sex & Lucia), Marisa Paredes (so good in All About My Mother), Jan Cornet, Roberto Alamo, Blanca Suárez, Eduard Fernández, José Luis Gómez, Bárbara Lennie, Susi Sánchez, Fernando Cayo and Teresa Manresa.  Almodovar’s longtime collaborators Alberto Iglesias (composer)and José Luis Alcaine (director of photography) will return.

The three month shoot will take place first in Santiago de Compostela, in the north of Spain, then move on to Pazo de Oca and finish up in Madrid and Toledo. The film has a release date in Spain of March next year, so expect it to hit Australia in December which has been the norm for an Almodovar film.

Almodovar has described his feature as bordering on an outright horror film. He  told Spanish newspaper El Pais that the film is the “harshest” he’s ever done and while it “comes close to the terror genre, something that appeals to me that I’ve never done, I won’t respect any of its rules”.

I can’t wait for this film. He is truly my favorite living film director.

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All About My Mother

Theatre Review:

ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER.

Turning one of Spanish primo director, Pedro Almodovar‘s most successful movies into a theatrical play, seemed like an good idea. But with the MTC production of “All About My Mother“, I am sorry to report that it is actually not such a good idea. A very disappointing night at the theatre.

Wendy Hughes & Paul Capsis

Story revolves around Manuela (Alison Whyte), a nurse and single mother living in Madrid with her son Esteban (Blake Davis). On a fateful night to the theatre (A Streetcar Named Desire), her son is killed after being hit by a car. Off she trots to Barcelona to seek out the son’s father, also called Esteban, but now called Lola. Along the way she meets up with a transvestite prostitute (Paul Capsis), pregnant nun (Katie Fitchett), and famous diva actress (Wendy Hughes. All helping her to overcome the grief of losing her beloved child. Throw in junkies and some ribald language and you get pure Almodovar!

Almodovar’s film is full of melodrama, humour, hysteria, has a propulsive energy and is visually arresting.

The play is laboured, staged in an amateurish fashion (bring on the sliding panels, and slow mo walking), and is visually disappointing (furnished like a 70’s waiting room), are we in Spain?  I won’t talk about the hideous costumes. The acting is all over the place, along with the accents (mostly Aussie, with a few Spanish pronounciations thrown in). The humour really only appears in the second half, which I must admit was far superior to the first. The adaptation by Samuel Adamson (first performed at London’s Old Vic) incorporates monologues by the pesky dead son(why does he need to explain All About Eve?), his ghostly appearances are an add on, and oh so annoyingly distracting. Also he gives further monologues to the amusing transvestite Algrado (these work due to Paul Capsis performance, but only just). It has most of the structure of the film intact, and with it’s staging tries to make it filmic in scope. But what is the point of a direct copy? Isn’t it better just to watch the film again. I guess with all the built in melodrama, the touches of Tennessee Williams, and references to All About Eve, make it all so theatrical, perhaps that is where the idea of the adaptation came from?

There are some pleasures to be had. Paul Capsis lights up the second half, Wendy Hughes is always great to watch. The music is good (it is direct from the film). Unfortunately the pleasures do not outweigh the pain. I recommend to watch the film.

Bring on the sliding screens

Mother & Son

ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER

Presented by Melbourne Theatre Company

Director – Simon Phillips

Set Designer – Stephen Curtis

Costume Designer – Esther Marie Hayes

Now Playing at John Sumner Theatre till September 26

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