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Saturday, March 10, 2007


I saw Almodovar's recent film Volver last night.

There was something interesting about the way death was dealt with. Death is a central element, but the people, the emotions, the story, somehow don't allow it to dominate in the way it easily could have. Also, beauty itself has the same paradoxical role. A large budget film these days can have teams of artistic designers who sculpt each shot into a piece of art on its own. One can get lost in the beauty of the way the colors are balanced and one imagines that someone is quite (justifiably) proud of the aesthetic achievement of a single frame. However, overall, the film itself often suffers as a result of individual artistic talents not working together to support the central goals of the film. It can have a piecemeal feel to it.
I guess Almodovar's films are just so consistently gorgeous that you forgive the extravagence. Or maybe its the fact that humanity never leaves the screen, or is never more than a few seconds away. The beauty isn't triumphalist- it isn't a stick to beat you over the head with, but instead a flavorful sauce that brings out a subtle taste, or the melodic structure that pulls you in to a sad song.

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