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Matador Movie Review

almodovar pedro guy director

Matador begins with its male lead masturbating to splatter videos. Then the female lead stabs a sexual partner as she climaxes. The rest of the movie shows how these two perfectly matched people meet and prepare for their mutual idea of the ultimate orgasm: simultaneous death. Writer/director Pedro Almodovar doesn't regard all this as aberrant or tragic, nor does he pass any moral judgments on his characters. Things like this happen all the time, his film says, and the main ones who get hurt are those who can't believe that there are people who freely choose to play it this way. The guy has another girlfriend, for example, with relentless faith that her love can save him from what he wants most. It can't, of course, but she tortures herself as he happily dashes off to screw his Doppelganger. Then there's the guy's student, who faints at the sight of blood, but who shares a strange psychic connection with his teacher, which forces him to claim guilt for the other's crimes. Almodovar, a post-Franco director with a vengeance, has clearly freed himself from the self-censorship that was inevitable for Spain's filmmakers during the repressive fascist regime. He has a way of plunging all the way to the bottom of the worst nightmares and examining each and every aspect in a way that is both clinical and passionate. His exhaustive explorations, far from destroying the enchantment of obsession, confront fatal charms on their own terms and render them plausible and even erotic. It is because he is so unsparing in his pursuit of truth that he can reveal the darkest human behavior and not be offensive, as a lesser artist surely would be with some of the huge risks Almodovar takes in Matador.

1986 90m/C SP Assumpta Serna, Antonio Banderas, Nacho Martinez, Eva Cobo, Carmen Maura, Julieta Serrano, Chus Lampreave; D: Pedro Almodovar; W: Pedro Almodovar, Jesus Ferrere; C: Angel Luis Fernandez; M: Bernardo Bonazzi. VHS, LV, Letterbox

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