FILM: PAIN AND GLORY

Dolor y gloria (original title) / 2019 / 1h 53min / rated R / directed by Pedro Almodóvar / written by Pedro Almodóvar / country: Spain | France / language: Spanish

“Almodovar has never shied away from telling his own stories, particularly about the women in his life, but there’s a poignancy to the way he approaches it here that he hasn’t really reached before. It’s largely due to how he places himself in the center of the story, not as an observer or cinematic memory but as the protagonist. He’s asking questions about the nature of life and art that filmmakers have certainly asked before, but there’s a grace here that’s rare, even for him. It’s a delicate, complex film, lacking in some of the visual whimsy of his best work, but as grounded in character as anything he’s done.” -Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com

“One pleasure of his movies, as of Ingmar Bergman’s, is the ease with which actors come and go, from drama to drama, like a trusted theatre troupe. Thus it is that Antonio Banderas, once a lustful and febrile hunk in “Matador” (1986) and “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” (1989), can now assume the role of Salvador, as shaggy and as wary as a beaten cur. If you go to the Prado, in Madrid, you will find a late self-portrait of Goya, in an open-necked shirt, surveying the sad landscape of his own features and recounting what he sees, without fear or favor. The picture dates from 1815, when Goya was sixty-nine—as Almodóvar was when “Pain and Glory” was released in Spain. What is involved here, in other words, is a tradition of truthtelling, with a long and honorable reach. The new film, like the old painting, is a stubborn, unvain, yet beautiful description of a man whose illusions are failing along with his mortal health, but who is somehow revived and saved by the act of describing. The glory flows from the pain.” -Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

“One of Almodóvar’s talents is his transformational, near-alchemical use of blunt ideas, how he marshals crude gestures, gaudy flourishes and melodramatic entanglements. The emotions still sting here, and the colors glow like traffic lights — there are eye-popping bursts of stop-sign red and go-go green — and the movie is as visually striking as any Almodóvar has made. But the narrative is elegantly structured rather than clotted, and its tone is contemplative as opposed to frantic, as if he had turned down the volume. A great deal happens in “Pain and Glory,” just not ritualistically and not at top volume. Its agonies are tempered, its regrets hushed, its restraint powerful.” -Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

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