Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Almodovar's colors

An article about Viva Pedro! festival, a retrospective of Almodovar's films, and the predominance of Red

Attending this month's Pedro Almodovar film festival will have you seeing red.

Not from anger, disillusionment or disappointment. Far from it.

Literal red. The brilliant Spanish director's movies are awash in the color, symbolically used to evoke revenge, murder and, most of all, passion.

In "The Flower of My Secret," a woman's sexy red dress at once captures her physical desire and her bottomless desperation. In "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," a scorned woman's smart red pantsuit signals her determination to get even.

In "Matador," a fantastic yet overlooked thriller, the action culminates with lovers completing a murder-suicide pact, their nude bodies collapsing onto a bed of crimson bullfighter's capes at the moment a solar eclipse turns the Castillian countryside the shade of blood.

The bold use of color is just one of the many stylistic ticks you pick up when you watch Almodovar's best films back to back. And that's what makes Cinema 21's two-week Viva Pedro! festival particularly enticing. The double-feature screenings that begin Friday (and precede the Dec. 22 opening of Almodovar's latest, "Volver") span two decades of work, pairing the director's hits with lesser-known rarities. Seeing these eight films during the course of days, not years, you notice artistic brushstrokes and recurring themes that might otherwise get lost.
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