A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
The protagonist of "Pain and Glory" was at the decline of his career. The man involuntarily looks back into the past, and a stream of vivid memories falls upon him. He recalls such moments from his youth as tender feelings for his mother, love and separation, the search for happiness and success. All this leads the master of cinema to important thoughts about life and art, because this is the most important thing for him.Written by
Less bombastic than some of his previous work (which I also love, by the way), this bittersweet film shows the maturity of a director that's been around and seen it all, someone who's experienced both pain and glory and is asking himself what's next in life. In this partly autobiographical narrative, his most personal so far, Almodovar expresses some frustration with aging and with loneliness, but also his appreciation for the path that he's had the privilege to make for himself and continues to work on, and the people who are important to him. He succeeds in exploring nostalgia without succumbing to sappiness. If anything, Almodovar's senses and craft are sharper than ever. He's able to be critical and loving at the same time. I like how has evolved through the decades and that he keeps experimenting with different styles of storytelling.
Antonio Banderas' award-worthy performance as the director's alter ego is understated, yet bold. Almodovar said in an interview that the choice was obvious, as Banderas is to him what Marcello Mastroianni was to Federico Fellini. And indeed there are some similarities between this film and '8 1/2': both films deal with the creative process. But whereas Fellini approaches the topic as a gladiator confronting obstacles with whip in hand, Almodovar is more low key and seems to point to tenderness as his weapon of choice.
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