Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Flower of My Secret

La flor de mi secreto; Drama, Spain/ France, 1995; D: Pedro Almodóvar, S: Marisa Paredes, Juan Echanove, Imanol Arias, Carmen Elias, Rossy de Palma, Kiti Manver

Leocadia Macias is a middle aged woman and wife of Paco, a NATO military officer serving with peace troops in Bosnia. She loves him very much, but he is always abroad. Leocadia secretly earns money as the author of kitschy romance novels under the pseudonym "Amanda Gris". Still, it turns out that her husband cheated on her with her best friend Betty, and she doesn't want to go on to write unrealistic stories about love. She gets help from Angel, an overweight journalist that offers her a new job.

Convinced he went too far with his previous film, "scandalous" Spanish director Pedro Almodovar decided to make a universally understandable, gentle and touching drama stripped from any kind of provocations, but that resulted in mediocre melodrama "The Flower of My Secret". There's isn't that much interesting stuff in this film; it lacks style, humor and surprise and has little to show. Almodovar hoped that normal dramatic scenes will be intriguing for themselves, but that isn't the case since there is always a need for something to enrich the dry, standard tone of life on film. Surprisingly, there are plenty of empty scenes, but a few good moments were delivered by the actress Marisa Paredes, even though her world is equally kitschy and fatalistic as her pink romance novels. Almodovar proved his skills with spontaneous and improvisational interventions in many of his film - even though he never studied directing at a film school - but "Flower" caught him on wrong foot: it's a neat, cute and clean melodrama about infidelity and the heroine's search for a new meaning in her life, but too conventional to really impress, and even the small quirky touches, like the NATO husband of the heroine who is stationed in Bosnia, seem too sparse.


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