|Javier Camara, Dario Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores, Geraldine Chaplin
|February 13, 2003
For any foreign filmmaker, it’s a near impossibility to establish yourself in America. With so much Yankee-product in the market place, foreign language pictures screen only in smaller boutique cinemas, receive no television advertising, and take very little at the box-office. The two exceptions to the rule have been Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Life Is Beautiful. Both films deserved their success but the primary reason for it was the Oscars. In an attempt to make their awards more international, members of Academy were more than happy to eat up the media blitz surrounding these flicks and shower them with nominations.
Talk To Her hasn’t followed this path. The Spanish film has only made $5m in the States to date and few have seen it outside of its country of origin. Regardless, word has spread of its beauty and the film has just been nominated in the very lucrative categories of best original screenplay and best director for this year’s Oscar ceremony. Both noms belong to writer-director Pedro Almodovar who after the success of his last film, All About My Mother, is finding a platform on the world stage.
Marco (Grandinetti) works as a journalist and falls in love with a female bullfighter, Lydia (Flores). Tragically, she is attacked by a bull in the ring and lies in a coma in hospital with severe brain damage. Waiting by her bedside, Marco meets Benigno (Camara), a male nurse who works there. Benigno has been hired to take care of one patient, a dancer named Alicia (Watling) who was involved in a car accident four years ago and has remained in a coma ever since. The two form a friendship and share their respective stories but the audience will soon learn there are shocking twists in store for them and their patients.
I’m not divulging any more regarding the conclusion but Pedro Almodovar has made another superb film. He writes rich, intricate stories that are a cut above most others. He introduces us to Marco and Benigno by telling us their stories in different manners. We meet Marco before Lydia’s tragedy and follow him through to the hospital. We meet Benigno in the hospital and then reflect back on his own story and how he first met Alicia.
Stunning cinematography and a stirring film score add to this wonderful example of storytelling. A moving drama with an ending to die for.