Manic Monday review – “Broken Embraces” and “Visitor Q”
Today, I woke up in the mood for some good foreign film watching. I took a while trying to choose two films that would be worlds apart (in the spirit of manic Monday). I narrowed it down to two movies that indeed are extremely different, but are both by brilliant film makers who consistently make powerful, unforgettable films and have been doing it for a long time.
I started with “Broken Embraces”. I hadn’t seen this film since my friend Eric (of the Guts and Grog web site) watched it in theaters a few years back. I remembered that we were both impressed with it though, and both thought it deserved a best foreign language film nod at the Oscars that year. Plus, you can never go wrong with any movie that says “Almodovar” and “Penelope Cruz” on the cover.
“Broken Embraces” is another in a long line of amazing films written and directed by Mr. Pedro Almodovar (“Talk to Her”, “Bad Education”). Once again he utilizes the beauty and grace of Penelope Cruz as the muse of his film, and it works to perfection. This movie cemented Almodovar, for me, as one of the great Spanish directors of all time.
The story centers on a blind film maker who has not only lost his sight, but also the love of his life, and his passion for his art. He (Lluis Homar) recounts the stories of a happier youth, and the beautiful woman (Cruz) that he loved. Both actors play there parts to perfection, especially ms. Cruz who is always stunningly perfect in all of Almodovar’s films.
This is a longer of his films, in just over two hours, but that won’t be an issue for the viewer, as the story never drags, the acting is amazing, and the scenery is beautiful. Although sad, I would say this is the perfect date movie for a couple that loves foreign film and a powerful, moving story. Another masterpiece by Senor Almodovar!
“Visitor Q” on the other hand is anything but a date movie. I am still completely shocked that it was originally a made for tv movie in Japan. Themes here include incest, necrophilia, murder, and drug use. It is however a powerful film. It looks deeply at the darkest sides of humanity, through the portal of a royally screwed up family.
The film was written and directed by Takashe Miike. He is a director who has become the stuff of legend when it comes to the shock value in his films, and “Visitor Q” may be the prime example of this. He pulls absolutely no punches here and it can leave the viewer feeling somewhat bombarded by offensive language and actions by every character in the film.
The movie is basically about a disgusting family, the patriarch of which is a tv show host. He decides to use the repulsive nature of his home life to boost the ratings of his show, and in the process reveals how grotesque he and his brood are. The public though (somewhat realistically) can’t get enough, and despite the nay saying of the shows producers he decides to keep upping the schlock.
I ,being a person who loves a movie that basically dares me to finish watching it, really like this movie. Caution though it is a movie that will attack every sensibility you have, and then go further. If that is not your cup o’ tea then look elswhere for your entertainment. If you like a movie that will shock and disturb…. look no further.