Pain and Glory Movie Review - A heartfelt revelation

Updated: 03 February, 2020 09:56 IST | Johnson Thomas | Mumbai

The accent is on honey-smooth seguing right up to the crafty reveal in the final shot. This is truly Almodavar's expression of love to the profession that has given him the best, all through.

A still from Pain and Glory
A still from Pain and Glory

Pain and Glory
U/A: Drama
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Nora Navas, Julieta Serrano, Penélope Cruz, César Vicente, Asier Flores
Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodavar the 70 year old Spanish Director with an enviable body of work, self-admittedly opines that this, his new film, is a sort of semi-autobiographical take on his life. Pain & Glory, scripted from memory by Almodavar himself, is the story of a Spanish director named Salvador Mallo, played by his longtime collaborator Antonio Banderas. So Banderas is shown sporting a similar haircut and living in a Madrid apartment. But not everything in the film is a follow-through about what Almodavar did in his life and career.

Watch Pain and Glory Trailer here:

The narrative draws parallel's between the past and the present. One track has nine-year-old Salvador (Asier Flores), growing up in rural Spain, being persuaded into priesthood by a mother (Penélope Cruz as the younger and Julieta Serrano as the older version) while the other track, (present-day) finds Salvador melancholic and in a nostalgic mood as he reaches out to his lead actor from a rerun of a film playing in the cinemas, Alberto (Asier Etxeandia), with whom he long ago had a falling out. It's complex portrait of a gifted (also fickle) artist whose glory days appear to be well behind him. Don't know whether this is how Almodavar looks on his own career at this point but the manner in which 'Pain & Glory' frames out, we see plenty of signs that this gifted director is not done yet. Nuggets of memory stream through as past and present get mired and perceptions of those events change with the passage of time. As the narrative progresses forward, Salvador reveals other aspects of himself and even though surrounded by the people who care about him the narcissistic, unemotional, self-centred artist rarely displays affection. Only briefly do we see his emotions - when in a relationship which gets truncated because of his partner's addiction.

This film, an introspective reflection of personal and professional choices, is touchingly told. Using dramatically illuminated visuals to record the director's memories throughout the many flashbacks, Almodavar builds up a positive emotional counter to balance out the sadness. The accent is on honey smooth seguing right up to the crafty reveal in the final shot. This is truly Almodavar's expression of love to the profession that has given him the best, all through.

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First Published: 01 February, 2020 07:07 IST

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