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Broken Embraces

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Penelope Cruz, Broken Embraces
Emilio Pereda/Paola Ardizzoni

Broken Embraces

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
runtime:
128 minutes
Limited Release Date:
11/20/09
performer:
Penelope Cruz, Blanca Portillo
director:
Pedro Almodovar
distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
author:
Pedro Almodovar
genre:
Drama, Foreign Language

We gave it an A-

STARRING Penélope Cruz, Lluís Homar
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Pedro Almodóvar

After four films together, Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz are the dearest of friends. Just not while they’re shooting. ”We don’t do the things that we normally do as friends when we are working,” says Cruz, who name-checked Almodóvar in her Oscar acceptance speech earlier this year (she won for Best Supporting Actress in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona). ”We don’t talk about our private things on set. We don’t hang out at night or go to the cinema. But in the morning, we get to the set and we know how the other one has slept and who’s in a good mood or a bad mood.”

There are echoes of the duo’s real-life relationship in Broken Embraces, a noirish Spanish-language drama about an aspiring actress named Lena (Cruz) who develops a close bond with Mateo (Lluís Homar), a filmmaker she idolizes. ”When I finished the screenplay, the character was slightly older than Penélope and, more importantly, very different in personality,” says Almodóvar. ”But I offered her the part precisely as a challenge. She would have to use a register that she had never explored before to express the character’s fatality, her harshness, and that impassiveness that some noir heroines display.” Cruz notes another difference between art and reality: ”When I met Pedro, I was even more obsessed with him than Lena is with Mateo.”