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Talk To Her
Review of the film Hable con ella - Talk To Her by Pedro Almodóvar
Get the film on DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon Canada.
Get the marvelous soundtrack on CD from Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, Amazon Canada.
Article added on August 29, 2002
  
Hable con ella by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar is a masterpiece: The narration, rhythm and flow of the film, the handling of parallel actions and the choice of actors testify to the fact that an outstanding artist has been at work. Furthermore, he has invited another genius, German dance choreographer Pina Bausch, to contribute pieces to Hable con ella. And that is where the movie begins.
 
The curtain of roses and heavy gold fringing which covers the stage of a theatre is pulled back to reveal Pina Bausch's spectacle Café Müller. Two women and a man are dancing to the music of The Fairy Queen (The Plaint: O Let Me Weep, Forever Weep) by Henry Purcell. Among the spectators are two men, sitting side by side, who do not know each other. One of them, Marco (Darío Grandinetti) is so moved that he starts to cry, observed by the other one, Benigno (Javier Cámara). By the way, "the man who cries" would have been another appropriate title for the film according to Almodóvar if only Sally Potter had not thought of it first.
 
Months later, the two will meet again at the private clinic "El Bosque" where Benigno works, looking after Alicia (Leonor Watling), a young ballet student lying in a coma. Marco arrives in the clinic because his girlfriend and bullfighter, Lydia (Rosario Flores), has been gored by a bull and has fallen into a coma too. This time, Benigno dares to speak to Marco - this is the beginning of a strange relationship between a somewhat retarded male nurse and an Argentinean journalist.
 
Benigno (Javier Cámara) has spent most of his life around a bed. When his mother turned forty, her husband had just left her and, in the mirror, she saw the first signs of the ephemeral nature of her beauty. She decided to install herself in bed and never left it again. Benigno looked after her day and night. He even studied nursing to learn how to take better care of her. His mother told him before she died that he had to live and to look after himself after her death. Benigno looked out of the window. Diagonally across the street was the Decadance Ballett Academy where he saw the young Alicia (Leonor Watling) in her training lesson for the first time.
 
When Benigno's mother died, after twenty years in bed, he was 25 and had known neither female nor male in his young life. When Alicia left the training building one day, she lost her purse. Benigno, waiting for her, found it and gave it back to her. Afterwards, he followed her back to her home. Alicia's father was a psychiatrist and, in order to be close to her, Benigno presented himself in the doctor's cabinet.

Unfortunately, he was not able to make a connection with her. One day, she was hit by a car and ended in a coma. Benigno, as a good male nurse, got the job to take care of her since bodies in a vegetative state need 24-hour care.
 
Benigno's evolution from a naive nurse and an almost childish young man with a certain femininity, acquired through his constant and sole contact with his mother, to a bearded prisoner after a tragedy which only Marco (Darío Grandinetti) could understand, is one of the great acting achievements in Hable con ella.
 
Marco (Darío Grandinetti), the sentimental, nostalgic and mysterious Argentinean journalist, traveler and travel guide writer has a different, but also moving story of life. His girlfriend - she was still under age when he met her - is a heroin addict. Their relationship sinks into a hell of aggression and lies. In order to keep her away from drugs and, therefore, away from Madrid, he takes her on his travels around the world. After seven years and seven travel guides, Marco leaves Angela with her parents who manage to separate her not only from the drugs, but also from Marco.

Years later, Marco meets Lydia (Rosario Flores), a bullfighter who has just ended a relationship. Marco accompanies her to all the places where she fights. But one unfortunate day, she gets wounded by a bull and falls into a coma.
 
Another masterful story by Pedro Almodóvar is the one that Benigno watches on one of his free nights in a cinema and which he tells afterwards to the recumbent, remote Alicia. It is the silent Spanish film Amante Menguante (Shrinking Lover) - of course shot in black and white by Almodóvar, who uses this seven-minute story as a front to hide what is really going on at that night in the clinic between Benigno and Alicia. 

Shrinking Lover
is a melodrama about a beautiful scientist whose lover takes a potion she just had invented but not yet tested. He begins to shrink. In one dreamlike scene, he walks around and on the body of the scientist as if she was a landscape. In the end, he disappears forever - accompanied by a last sigh of the sleeping beauty - between her legs. The seven minutes were inspired by the movies The Devil Doll by Tod Browning (1936) and The Incredible Shrinking Man by Jack Arnold (1957).
 
Among the other memorable moments of Talk To Her are an intimate and heartbreaking live-rendition of Cucurrucucú Paloma by Caetano Veloso and the final scene, Masurca Fogo, another piece choreographed by Pina Bausch.
 
Hable con ella is a touching and artistically impressive movie about friendship and love, loneliness and monologues, communication and absence of communication, couples and impossible conversations, disease, death, madness and much more.

Read the following lines only after you have seen the movie! Pedro Almodóvar says that several true incidents, which happened in the last ten years, have inspired him to do Talk To Her. Among them: an American woman wakened from a coma after sixteen years; a young night watchman in a morgue in Rumania felt attracted by the corpse of a young girl, possessed the dead beauty and the dead girl came to life because she had been suffering from a kind of catalepsy and had only seemed to be dead (there is also a French film about it); a girl in New York who had been in a coma for nine years became pregnant, without awakening from the coma, the culprit was an orderly in the clinic.


Order the film on DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon Canada.

Order the marvelous soundtrack on CD from Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, Amazon Canada.










 
Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.