Caught Up in the Embrace (Fashion Films of 2010)

Friday, February 26, 2010

I am a self-attested film buff, an expert of sorts (aren’t we all). Hollywood churns out the fare, and I am one of the first to go out and consume it. Be it a product of my environment or my genuine love of the art form, seeing a great film is a real joy for me.
I have been in a long-time love affair with the films of Pedro Almodóvar. As my “film lover”, he still does not disappoint. I am caught up in the embrace of “Broken Embraces”, his latest offering starring his muse, Penelope Cruz, is now my new favorite. I have screened it five times now. It takes me forward and back to the very reason I fell under his rapture by being a film within a film and a film about making films, by a true film maker.

What I am not going to offer here is a film review, more of an observation of the points of the film and its style that caught me and swept me off my cinematic (and fashion) feet.

First, you cannot escape the allure and power of the use of Red. It is the prevalent color, symbolizing “sangre”/blood, passion, fire, and Love. The color and its use to me are very Spanish. Red punctuates, accents, drives, and signifies scenes, characters and situations in the film. Sonia Grande, the film's costume designer, used red fashions from the likes of Christian Louboutin, Dior, John Galliano, and Valentino, among others, to dress and style many of the characters in the film.

Second, the film within the film, called “Chicas y Maletas” is actually "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown". This movie is still my most favorite one by Almodóvar. It is pure comic zaniness and delight, and is a must-see upon entering significantly in my life (you will have a movie night with me and this is what we will be watching!). In “Embraces”, we get a glimpse of the “making” of the movie, or rather, its artistic rendering. Red is also a prominent theme in that film.

Third, with lines such as "The last sensation she took from this world was the taste of your mouth", “Embraces” has it ALL: film noir, suspense, melodrama, comedy, heart, passion, and perfect writing (if that line alone is not something inspirational then…).

Lastly, “Embraces” shows us a modern and complex Spain, mirrored in a greater world view. It is a story that could really take place anywhere but one that is firmly planted in Spain, firmly ground in artistry, and purely Almodóvar.  This film is a blood red kiss to the loving heart of film making for Almodóvar and to those who have shaped and colored his visual world. And for me, I am entering it as a contender for my top five fashion films of 2010. Go out and get caught in the embrace of "Broken Embraces". May it's sensation last for you as well.

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