Friday, April 11, 2014

Almodovar's "Talk to Her": caregiving by men goes to the root

Pedro Almodovar’s “Talk to Her” (“Hable con ella”, 2002) is another layered movie setting up tempting and tragic paradoxes.  In this case, two men befriend one another through the experience of caring for or loving a (different) comatose woman.

The film opens with a dance scene, embedded at a theater where Marco meets Benigno (Javier Camara), a male nurse, whose girl friend Alicia (Leonor Watling) is in the act.  But they will meet again at a clinic, where both women lie in vegetative state. 

Marco (Dario Grandinetti) is a travel journalist who has also become enamored to a female bullfighter Lydia (Rosaria Flores), at one point killing a snake in her home.  But soon she is gravely injured at a fight.
Alicia has become comatose because of a traffic accident, and is missing periods, which may mean she was pregnant.  This eventually leads to legal complications for Benigno. 

There are lots of flashbacks, as when a shrink interviews the nurse, about his taking care of his mom, and then over his virginity/ 
There is a dream sequence, a short silent film in black and white ("Hotel Youkai No. 15"), where a Lilliputian man enters the vagina of a woman.  But it’s not clear who is experiencing the dream.  Maybe all four major characters are sharing a transformative, telepathic experience. But it certainly makes the male look like the expendable sex. 

Compare this film to "Rust and Bone" (Dec. 30, 2012). 

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