Disagreeing with Ramón # 01 – Almodóvar
With this post I begin my section “Disagreeing with Ramón“, AKA my uncle, the well-known doctor who some time ago evolved into a kind of internet film critics guru hahaha.
We both share a love for the 7th art, although many times we think diametrically opposite things about the same films, and who will be right?
Well… the two of us, because in this thing of art, if we are able to reason and argue our opinion, we all are!
The reason for this section is a sort of “counter-review” of films that he didn’t liked and i do, and vice versa.
I wish I had the same eloquence with which he praises or massacre these films, but I will try at least…
Experience leads me to think that the profession of critic makes no sense because objectivity does not exist, and we should only be interested in the opinions of those with whom we discover an affinity. (Curiously, going to leave my vote in filmaffinity, I find that I do not agree this time with one of the few critics I am interested in consult, the great Jordi Costa)
Everyone should use the “For me…”, “In my opinion…”, “To my taste…“, instead of exercising judgments, those who they try to give the aura of the absolute truth, when what professional critics get is, in many cases, to transmit an aura of arrogance and overbearingness.
When valuing a film or any other piece of art or cultural product, also come into play our expectations, conjured together with our tastes…in this case, I expected the usual excellence in Almodóvar, especially in his last films, but this is to advance content… The fact is that I have always been seduced by Pedro’s cinema, from its beginnings erotic-kinky-festive even as I say, his latest films in which he demonstrates a mastery of audiovisual language at the level of the greatest.
I had always the impression that the vast majority of people who make a living with film criticism, and what we could call “The academics of cinema“, are contaminated by an extension of the noxious plague of the single thought that wants to convert us all into homogenous individuals, without taste or own personality. But hey, it’s just an opinion…
Technically impeccable, a great work of direction on the part of Pedro, but the performances look forced to me, especially the father of Julieta. Some moments somewhat ridiculous by script, accompanied by others of exquisite subtlety. A music that I like a lot but that leaves me the aftertaste to be already heard, and that I do not think it fits very well with the tone of the story. It tries to sheathe it in mysterious tones, but it does not succeed in implanting in me the typical curiosity of the “genre”. The only mystery seems to be for the viewer, and the way he discovers how the script progresses, not for their characters who are limited to living, well, to flee continuously, to hide their grudges. As well as the structure, between spiral and broken, of the story, I don’t think it adds to it any special meaning or value as it can do in “Pulp Fiction”, for example.
Emma Suárez, to which I have great affection, it does not seem authentic to me and it does not catch me with its performance. She does not look like a person from the real world, but an imposed role in an actress. Instead with Adriana Ugarte I can connect.
Maybe the 3 stories of the writer in origin are magnificent, but when mixing them and, I suppose because I did not find it, give it the Almodovar touch, they do not work. The only thing, the great Rossy de Palma acting as Rossy de Pedro as she has always done so well.
Sex scenes fatally shot, as unfortunately it is habitual in the cinema and the television, except for honorable exceptions such as “Shortbus” or “Girls” and little else.
The first time, when I saw it in the cinema, I left with the feeling that every shot, there was a decision that seemed wrong to me and I would not have done sothat way. At no time can I empathize with the dramatic tone of the story, or the recurring theme of caring for the family, trying to achieve your dreams at any cost, regardless of the others, or motherhood, complicities, rupture or change in relationships. And basically, the material with which are interwoven all the elements of history does not emit a smell that makes me salivate in no time, that makes me can’t wait to give it the next bite.
So much pause, slow cadence, and a mania for the whispers makes me unable to connect with the story at any time, even puts me in a bad mood. I find it well worked but does not reach me emotionally, and I do not know if it is because the subject does not interest me especially or is that work put in the story. The film feels to me enormously long, given that only lasts 98 minutes…
And what I thought a director with the experience and personality of Almodóvar never would do, use the cheap trick of recalling an earlier scene so that the absent spectators, capt the symbology of a shot that should reverberate by itself thanks to the previous situation.
The best thing for me, the symbolic moment near the end in which appears what could be a mystical well, that would connect so many things…
I’m So Excited!
Coral grotesque in the best sense. An obscene sexual, visual (mainly phallic) and verbal game.
Since the beginning with the credits paying homage to Saul Bass, and that melody combining classical music and cumbia portend something fresh and unique.
The comedy takes off with the typical warning about resemblance to fiction and the first gag with the name of the invented airline, which is a total bullshit and sets the tone marvelously from the beginning.
The casting is spectacular in all its characters, being perhaps the most forced the 2 cameos of the beginning.
A very meticulous art direction, which reminded me this time a bit to the great “Life Aquatic” from Wes Anderson, but without its excesses.
Five minutes have passed and I have been introduced to the story, and seeing how genially characterized are all the pilots, stewardesses, and passengers, makes me want to know everything about their lives.
*A nod to the instrumental version of “Malagueña Salerosa”, delightful.
We continue with the plot and the characters, a delicious subversion of what are usually air travels. Every plane I caught after seeing it turned out to be a disappointment for not being an adventure like this…is what cinema has, which is usually better than real life.
After a few more serious films in recent times where for me Pedro reached his maturity, this time he returned to the most punk comedy that is what made him well known in the beginning, as an orchestra master at the highest level, and he allows himself small games as remaking behaviors of some of his most famous “Almodóvar Girls” in the skin of some of the men in this movie.
If for something I think it’s so sagacious and breakthrough is because, in a single scenario (ok, almost exclusively) closed as is the plane, thanks to the meeting of characters so fucking great, authentic and unique (helped by a perfect cast), creates a microcosm thanks to the intersections between the multiple mini-plots that connects them, working at various levels.
Unlike in his last film, here the punctual moments in which the music makes an underlining of suspense, are well introduced and do not disappoint.
Yes, in the end it does not cease to be, apparently, a light and rowdy comedy, which will cause aversion to the whole queer-phobic collective. A deliriously funny apology for healthy sex (Mention of honor for that shot of Lola Dueñas enjoying a stolen Reverse Cowgirl with her hair flying in the wind), and to stay healthy, as comedy in hospitals should be prescribed…
I understand that also it shouldn’t be liked by the white, politically-correct and for the whole family comedy lovers which is so successful in our country, but the comedy is built on exaggeration and hyperbole, and here I find a perfect portion.
It also gives us one of the (which should be) most iconic musical numbers in the history of cinema.
The only negative point I find is that social criticism is too obvious, making it too easy and inelegant.
And, whenever I finish it, I leave with a big smile and the feeling of being a better person.
The big difference between the 2 for me could be in terms of their characters and how actors represent them, in the first i find everything natural, organic and fresh, and in “Julieta” everything seems to me imposed, forced, without provoking me any empathy. In short, the characters of one attracts me, i find the ones in the other to be bland.
And to finish, it seems that I will have to make the second “Disagreeing with Ramon” about the new jewel of science fiction that Luc Besson gave us 20 years after one of my favorite movies of all time …