Bad Education @ Phoenix Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film on sex, religion, and
abuse is unlike anything you will see in the coming months. In a
film that took over ten years to write, bring into production and
film, the complex lines not only highlight the abuse faced by
Enrique and Ignacio, but the love that underlies it all. In
interview, Almodóvar has been keen to emphasise that this film
is not auto-biographical. However, I feel that taking into
account that he was abused by his priest as a child does bring an
added poignancy to a stunning, moving vision of love. Father Manolo (Daniel Giménez Cacho) runs and is literature
teacher at a Catholic school. Manolo becomes infatuated with
Ignacio (Nacho Pérez), who in turn has fallen in love with
Enrique (Raúl García Forneiro). The love triangle persists,
resulting in a masturbating session in the cinema between the two
boys. This culminates in the two boys being caught in the toilet
together, hiding from the prowling Manolo. Ignacio ends up
selling his body to Manolo to save his beloved Enrique. Manolo
does not keep his promise – Enrique is sent away from the
school, and Ignacio left in the indomitable hands of Manolo. Flashing forward to another decade, Enrique (Fele Martínez)
is a publisher, and Angel (Gael García Bernal) wants a job as an
actor, but also happens to bring a film with him. The script is
his account of his childhood – it seems that Enrique has not
forgotten either Ignacio whom he hasn’t seen for over
sixteen years, or Father Manolo. Twists and turns follow, subtle details that could not have
been thought of in anything less than ten years, and the true
plot of Ignacio, Manolo, and Enrique’s childhood is
revealed. The film is not only beautiful, captivating, haunting and
moving, but also hilarious. Javier Cámara steals his scenes and
is absolutely hysterical in his comedic role. Likewise, a sports
day scene involving the priests in full gowns is both hilarious
and shocking. Whilst Manolo enjoys picking his boys, we see a
gowned priest as goalie diving for a ball. This is both
hysterical and a relief from the sordid paedophilic content of
the specific scene. Almodóvar deals delicately with the issues
of abuse; there is no graphic detail, indeed little vocal either.
However, the tension can be read on the actors faces, and in that
respect, the two children playing Enrique and Ignacio, had,
perhaps the most engaging scenes in the film. Delicate, beautiful, with stunning actors, and transvestites,
this film received a standing ovation at Cannes – it will
leave you speechless.ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2004 


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