Sept. 24--BEIRUT -- Manuela (Cecilia Roth) raises her son Esteban alone. After her son's accidental death by a motorist, she leaves everything behind to go to Barcelona in search of Esteban's father, a transvestite known as Lola.
It is through Manuela's emotional turmoil that Spanish film director Pedro Almovodar's "Todo Sobre Mi Madre" (All About My Mother) portrays the crisis of a woman who step by step is reintroduced to her old friends, a nun (Penelope Cruz), some drug addicts and many more dramatic characters.
"Todo Sobre Mi Madre" has been chosen to open the newest film cycle at Metropolis Cinema Sofil, "Odios Y Pasiones," a retrospective of Almodovar's early works.
From Sept. 24-29 Lebanese will be able to plunge in the filmmaker's unique cinematographic genre and discover or rediscover some of his best productions.
Almodovar has been graced with several academy awards, among them the 2000 BAFTA Film Award, the 1999 Best Director Award at the Cannes Festival for "All About My Mother," the 2012 BAFTA Film Award for "The Skin I Live In," (in the Best Film Not in the English Language category) and the 2003 Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Screenplay in "Talk to Her" (2002).
"Que he hecho yo para me receresto?" (What Have I Done to Deserve This?) will screen Sept. 25, presenting Gloria, who lives in an apartment with her husband, her two sons, Antonio the taxi driver and her mother-in-law. Her dysfunctional life proves to be one hell of a mess when Antonio is asked to forge letters from Hitler and her son is sent to a perverted dentist. All this disorder causes Gloria to lose her mind. This film is not only a murder investigation but also shows the paranoia and eccentricities of family life.
"La Ley del Deseo" (Law of Desire), Almodovar's first film centered on the gay community, will be screened Sept. 26. It follows the story of three men: Pablo Quintero, a film director (Eusebio Poncela), Antonio (Antonio Banderas), who has his first sexual experience with Pablo and Tina, who used to be a boy. Tina, who has since had a sex change, hates men as the result of one dramatic event. This drama feature explores the difficulties experiences by some gay people, the depression caused by a lack of love, and an investigation on the death of Pablo's longtime lover Juan.
Pepa Marcos (Carmen Maura) wants to end it. After being dumped by her boyfriend, Ivan, she decides to take an overdose of sleeping pills. Her friend Candela (Maria Barranco) arrives, seeking help to escape from her Shiite boyfriend, a member of a terrorist cell, and interrupts Pepa's morbid plan. Other characters come and go in the apartment, such as Carmen's ex-lover's son and his fiancee (Rossy De Palma, one of Almodovar's muses) forming a kinky social behavioral study in "Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios" (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), screening Friday.
It seems that murder investigations are one of Almodovar's leitmotivs. "Tacones Lejanos" -- which will screen Sept. 28 -- centers on the death of Manuel (Feodor Atkine) at the hand of either his ex-lover Becky del Paramo (Marisa Paredes) or his wife -- Becky's daughter -- played by Victoria Abril.
The film retrospective will end Sunday evening with"Kika," an odd feature dealing with death, love and resurrection. Kika -- a makeup artist -- is hired to prepare the deceased Ramon's face for a funeral, but everything changes when she falls in love with him.
And here lies Almodovar's talent. This twisted relationship between the two characters triggers Ramon's resurrection and criminal schemes. Kika discovers Ramon has sold to a television channel a video he has shot of her being raped by her maid's retarded brother. From there, everything crumbles in Kika's life.
Almodovar's world is certainly one of a kind. Police investigations, odd love affairs, warped characters -- everything is on hand to ensure an exceptional and original film cycle of one of the most successful filmmakers.
"Odios Y Pasiones" will be screened at Metropolis Cinema Sofil from Sept. 24-29. For more information, please call 01-204-080 or visit http://www.metropoliscinema.net/.
(c)2013 The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
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