Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

Broken Embraces 2009

Los abrazos rotos

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar

Direct from Cannes, Penélope Cruz stars in Pedro Almodóvar’s latest, an exuberant, stylish, richly enjoyable romantic drama of love and betrayal in a 90s movie set. “Pure moviegoing pleasure.” — The Guardian

Spain In Spanish with English subtitles
128 minutes

Director, Screenplay


Esther García


Rodrigo Prieto


José Salcedo

Art director

Antxón Gómez

Costume designer

Sonia Grande


Alberto Iglesias


Penélope Cruz (Lena)
Lluís Homar (Mateo Blanco, 'Harry Caine')
José Luis Gómez (Ernesto Martel)
Blanca Portillo (Judit)
Lola Dueñas (lip reader)
Rubén Ochandiano (Ray X)
Tamar Novas (Diego)
Kira Miró (model)
Chus Lampreave (concierge)
Carmen Machi (Chon)


Cannes (In Competition) 2009


“Pedro Almodóvar has always managed to combine elegance and exuberance, and his latest movie is no exception: a richly enjoyable piece of work, slick and sleek, with a sensuous feel for the cinematic surfaces of things and, as ever, self-reflexively infatuated with the business of cinema itself... The action of the movie unfolds in two periods: flashing back and forth between the present day and 1994. It is a measure of Almodóvar's absolute technical mastery, and that of his editor José Salcedo, that this is never disconcerting or confusing. Lluís Homar plays Mateo, a former film director who lost his sight in a car crash... Now he writes screenplays under his pen name ‘Harry Caine’... A newspaper obituary of a shady financier, Ernesto Martel, tremendously played by José Luis Gómez, triggers memories of his movie-making career in the 90s: Martel bankrolled Mateo's final movie on condition that his mistress was given the lead.

This of course is Lena, played by Penélope Cruz in a state of almost hyperreal gorgeousness, a sublime beauty in whose presence Almodóvar's camera goes into a kind of swooning trance, and whose exquisiteness consists at least partly in its fabricated quality... The film-within-a-film motif is head-spinningly sophisticated, though the theme of cinema itself within cinema (traditionally rather overrated by cinephiles in terms of interest and importance) is kept fresh and alive through Almodóvar's sheer energy... I defy anybody to watch it without a tingle of pure moviegoing pleasure.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian