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Broken Embraces (2009)

Los abrazos rotos (original title)
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Harry Caine, a blind writer, reaches this moment in time when he has to heal his wounds from 14 years back. He was then still known by his real name, Mateo Blanco, and directing his last movie.

Director:

Pedro Almodóvar
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 9 wins & 44 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Penélope Cruz ... Lena
Lluís Homar ... Mateo Blanco / Harry Caine
Blanca Portillo ... Judit García
José Luis Gómez ... Ernesto Martel
Rubén Ochandiano ... Ray X
Tamar Novas ... Diego
Ángela Molina ... Madre de Lena
Chus Lampreave ... Portera
Kiti Mánver ... Madame Mylene
Lola Dueñas ... Lectora de labios
Mariola Fuentes ... Edurne
Carmen Machi ... Chon
Kira Miró ... Modelo
Rossy de Palma ... Julieta
Alejo Sauras ... Álex
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Storyline

Passion, obsession, wealth, jealousy, family, guilt, and creativity. In Madrid, Harry Caine is a blind screenwriter, assisted by Judit and her son Diego. The past comes rushing in when Harry learns of the death of Ernesto Martel, a wealthy businessman, and Ernesto's son pays Harry a visit. In a series of flashbacks to the 1990s, we see Harry, who was then Mateo Blanco, a director; he falls in love with Ernesto's mistress, Lena, and casts her in a film, which Ernesto finances. Ernesto is jealous and obsessive, sending his son to film the making of the movie, to follow Lena and Mateo, and to give him the daily footage. Judit doesn't like Lena. It's a collision course. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Spain

Language:

Spanish | English

Release Date:

15 January 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Broken Hugs See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$107,111, 22 November 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,014,305

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,991,660
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The director revealed in an interview that the character played by Carmen Machi was inspired by his real-life friend, Blanca Sánchez, who, in the 1980s, had a relationship with a man who unbeknownst to her was a member of the Basque separatist group E.T.A. Sanchez was also used as the inspiration for the character Candela played by María Barranco in Pedro Almodóvar's breakthrough hit Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988). See more »

Goofs

After Ernesto pushed Lena on the staircase, he takes her to the hospital in his Rolls Royce. When they approach the metal gate of his Villa, you can see, almost in the middle of the frame, a blue square with a man inside, most probably a crew person. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[in Spanish, quoting English subtitles]
Modelo: What's your name?
Mateo Blanco: Harry Caine.
[voiceover]
Mateo Blanco: I used to be called Mateo and I was a film director. I was always tempted by the idea of being someone else, as well as myself. Living one's life wasn't enough, so I invented a pseudonym, Harry Caine, an adventurer who, as fate would have it, became a writer. I had him sign all the scripts and stories I wrote. For years, Mateo Blanco and Harry Caine shared the same body, mine. But a moment came when ...
See more »

Connections

Features Journey to Italy (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

A ciegas
Written by Juan Quintero, Rafael de León and Manuel L. Quiroga
Performed by Miguel Poveda
Arranged by Alberto Iglesias
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: Pedro Almodóvar's homage to film-making
1 May 2013 | by murtaza_mmaSee all my reviews

Pedro Almodóvar's Broken Embraces (2009) is a strange yet intriguing work of cinema. A heartbreaking tale of love, Broken Embraces highlight's the Spanish filmmaker's love for filmmaking as well the medium, which is underlined by the following line spoken by the movie's protagonist: "No, what matters is to finish it. Films have to be finished, even if you do it blindly." Almodóvar is not the first filmmaker to pay homage to cinema. Time and time again, filmmakers have used their films to express their overwhelming love for the medium: be it Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard, Giuseppe Tornatore, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Altman, or Martin Scorsese.

Broken Embraces (2009) is far from being a masterpiece. In fact, it's not even Almodóvar's best film, but it does have its moments that are enough to make it worthy of a watch. Almodóvar seems to have perfected his unique style by borrowing bits and pieces from the masters of cinema. Those who have followed Alfred Hitchcock's body of work closely would know that sex and humor were two of his major elements. And Almodóvar, a great fan of the Master of Suspense, too relies heavily on these two powerful elements often blending them with an equally potent weapon: social commentary. And like Hitchcock, Almodóvar loves to revisit his old works in an effort to further refine his quaint yet effective ideas. In fact, it is not very difficult for the keen-eyed viewers to spot the recurring patterns in Pedro Almodóvar's films, just like in Hitchcock's. And Broken Embraces is no different in this regard with the ever so ambitious Almodóvar trying to borrow and improvise upon certain ideas from his breakthrough film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988).

While the comparisons between Hitchcock and Almodóvar are endless, one similarity that just cannot be overlooked is their insatiable love for technical mastery. There is a brilliant sequence in Broken Embraces that that underlines the remarkable quality of editing (and technical excellence) in Almodóvar's films. In the very scene, a rotating CD can be seen fading into a cylindrical staircase as the movie's protagonist climbs down the stairs. The scene is highly reminiscent of the editing techniques employed by Hitchcock in one of his early masterpieces: Sabotage (1936).

Overall, Broken Embraces, at best, serves to be a guilty pleasure. Almodóvar's obsession to experiment with his old ideas in trying to embed them into the new ones ends up overloading the film with at least one excessive plot line. The best ways to savor Broken Embraces is to either treat it as a homage to filmmaking or to look upon it as a exercise in style. Regardless of the excesses, Broken Embraces will prove to be a great film viewing experience for Almodóvar fans and also for those who understand and appreciate powerful world cinema. 7/10

For more, please visit my film blogsite:

http://www.apotpourriofvestiges.com/


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