Pedro Almodóvar’s love letter to cinema is another tale of obsession and features another sublime performance by Penélope Cruz.
Before he went blind, ‘Harry Caine’ was Mateo Blanco (Lluís Homar), a film director who often worked with Ernesto Martel (José Luis Gómez), who has recently died. Ten years earlier, Ernesto and Mateo's friendship was torn apart by their mutual obsession with Lena (Cruz), Ernesto's mistress and the woman Mateo adored. The tipping point came when Ernesto recruited his son (Rubén Ochandiano) to spy on Mateo, and matters quickly spiralled out of control.
Returning to his theme of ‘amour fou’, represented by a sense of fatalism, and powerful feelings of jealousy, treachery and guilt, Almodóvar’s film is also an investigation into the voyeuristic powers of cinema. With its homages to other films and genres (including a film-within-the-film is a parody of his earlier ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’) ‘Broken Embraces’ finds Almodóvar at his most playful and exuberant.