Dean Rivers (dean_r) wrote,
Dean Rivers

"Bad Education"

Astrid said "I don't know much about the film, but it features a guy in drag and that'll do me." She was also told it was a bit of a comedy. With this in mind we saw a film with a drag queen indeed, and some black comedy in references to film noir, and a very large smattering of men getting it on with men, with a religious character abusing children and one character attempting a bizarre triple role.

This is the directing style of Pedro Almodóvar who obviously has talent, but has to develop the ability to stop making things seem more ridiculous than they need to be.

It ended up being a story-in-a-story film, much like Adaptation attempted. The film featured a love story of two young boys who seperated and then grew up to reunite (one as an actor with a script, one as a director) and make a film together. The film was fundamentally about the Catholic teacher of the boys. This man, Father Manolo, fell in love with one of the children, and abused him. This boy then grew up blackmailing the teacher - primarily using the money for drugs but also to get breasts, as he had become a drag queen these days. The strange aspect to this is that the actor wants to play this drag queen role, and will not let the film get made unless this happens. Initially a confusing decision, it slowly makes more sense as time goes on. There's also an evident twist when the teacher finds out of the making of this film and informs the director of the true story behind it all, and how his reunited friend was not who he thought he was.

However, I'll leave all explanation of this twist out, it's another level to the film and a flaw of it. The director says this script is quite autobiographical and I can see the film involved a lot of personal emotions, with the manner it was put together. However, the characters included felt remarkably superficial. Instead of appearing as real human beings, the characters were exceptionally lavish, almost managing to stand out from the area around them; like fantasy characters in a rundown world. There is never a sense of a simple, plain touch in this film; it is very sensationalist for no good reason. The characters could have been toned down with no loss to the style of the film. I mean, the style of the film was interesting, with the story intertwining between flashbacks and even occasional mocking of film noir, but the characters' exaggeration of real life meant you had to struggle to get into the film.

In the same manner David Lynch is shunned as a madman or heralded as a genius, the director Almodóvar must receive this same 'acclaim'. I couldn't get over the sheer pompousness of the film, and the feeling that he had tried so hard to attract a darker tone that he forgets to allow the film to run smoothly and - quite simply - make sense. It's the type of film that one would watch again, like Adaptation, to take the storyline in again and understand the whole scenario better. However, I can't say I would feel comfortable watching the film again, too many aspects of it kept me from sitting back and enjoying it.

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