March 17, 2009

Pedro Almodovar's "Hable Con Ella" or "Talk to Her"


Communicating with another being alleviates loneliness; that is a well known fact, but if the other being happens to be comatose...what then? Pedro Almodovar's movie "Talk to Her" addresses this 'what then' situation in a plot that flits between the past and the present; yet, has the audience flowing along with the fluidity and ease of a participant.

Two men nursing two comatose women; both claim to love the woman they are nursing , but their ways of caring are vastly different. There is one who 'talks' to his beloved constantly and keeps her current on all that interests her in the outside world: the movies/ the musicals she loves and which he watches only to give her a feedback on them. He is a selfless caregiver who worships his lovers body by tending to it as a mother would. On the other hand we have the other man, a writer, caring for his bull fighter beloved with a distant and stoic silence that isolates him from the audience and perhaps also from his comatose beloved; something he has to be made aware of. Both men face the harsh reality that their beloved may never regain consciousness, and yet they continue to be there in the medical facility with their loved one every waking moment. The two men meet while at the facility and establish a unique bond that outlasts their roles as care givers.

The two comatose women are just as disparate as are their circumstances and basically serve to bring out some strong emotions from the men who love them. The women come across as predefined characters who are very physical and hardly develop during the course of the movie. It is the two men with their loyalty and passion that make for the pace of the movie. Almodovar in and through this movie seems to be seeking an answer to a primal question about whether love is really a need, and whether loyalty is in fact what is labeled as love. In finding his answers Almodovar creates a tragedy that has at its center a character who we can't sympathize with, yet, we come out of the movie hall with a complete understanding of why he did what he did. There is a repugnance for the act he commits, yet there is empathy for the rationale behind the act. A movie maker who can tear the soul of his audience so, has to be master artist, and Almodovar certainly is.

There are sexually explicit scenes in the movie that might shock and even drive away a conservative viewer. In this Spanish movie (has English subtitles), Almodovar explores the boundaries of physicality almost to the verge of near absurdity, but the scenes have an artistic ethos about them, as they raise philosophical questions such as whether love is but lust in genial disguise, and whether loyalty is neediness camouflaged. Admittedly, both my brain and my heart were on overdrive throughout the movie, and I'm still not certain I was entertained as much as I was challenged by Almodovar's creation.

"Hable Con Ella" is a movie that entertains as it intrigues, and it is not for an audience with predefined sensibilities.

8 comments:

hfm said...

This sounds amazing, is it based on a novel?I'd rather read the book that watch something with subtitles, I hate reading across the screen.

Id it is said...

hfm,
Unfortunately, there isn't a book you could go to, but you may want to watch the movie in spite of the subtitles; the mvie is so engrossing that you forget the inconvenience of having to read as you watch!

hfm said...

Ohh seriously?
I'll search for it online since I doubt the Odeon near where I live show these kinda films.

human being said...

such works that challenge us stay more with us... changing something in us through time...

think the way these men love holds true for the conscious women too... the role is the same...

perhaps we can find ourselves there...

'whether love is but lust in genial disguise, and whether loyalty is neediness camouflaged.'

think both love and loyalty have some phases... and depending on which phase one is in, the answer differs...


wish i could find this film... your review is very encouraging...

and i leave your blog with lots of questions on my mind...
it's good, isn't it?
:)

EYE said...

sounds interesting... Spanish directors have an unmatched sensibility to human emotions. I recently saw a Spanish short film called Alumbramiento( giving birth to light)very very beautiful and sensitive perspective towards death. It's a film that has won numerous awards in the EU.

berenice said...

another great review I Me My!
now this film i have seen!! i appreciate a couple of Almodovar films, some are superb! other ones fall into cliches, i feel, and i am thankful to be a Spanish native speaker, although being Mexican and the film being from Spain, i did have to myself refer to the subtitles ;) to HFM, don't give up on watching foreign films 'cause of having to read subtitles!! i grew up in Mexico where ALL the American films were sub-titled in Spanish, of course after a while I understood the English... but what about Chinese, Japanese, French films??? do you disregard those 'cause you don't like reading sub-titles??? also, i do NOT appreciate dubbed films, they 'sound' better in their native languages, if you get used to read subtitles, it will become like a 2nd nature and won't annoy you anymore after a couple of good films :)

Georg said...

Bonjour Id,

You made there a great description. Because you not only wrote what you think about the movie but also what happens in it.

Almodovar is quite popular over here, he is a kind of specialist on women. But I must admit I am always a bit ill at ease after having finished one of his movies. Saying "Ouff" when coming out of the cinema.

Georg

future mantra said...

Nice blog. It is due to people like you that the spirit of democracy and freedom of expression is alive. Keep up the good work. Hey, by the way, do you mind taking a look at our new website www.indianewsupdates.com. It has various interesting sections. Who knows, it might just have the right kind of stuff that you are looking for.

Also, if you like this website, can you please recommend it to your friends. Your little help would help us in a big way.

Thank you,

The Future Mantra