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broken_embraces

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Last night I saw the new Almodovar at the Rio Cinema in Dalston. Its probably the most apt space to view an Almodovar – the velvet chairs, vagueishly art deco interior, the layers of dust, the faint hint of cigarette smoke – all reminders of a bygone era. Recently, I’ve made it a principle to not read a review of a film until I have seen it. Perhaps a risky move but I prefer to form my own opinions. Incidentally, the reviews of said film have been so-so and I can perhaps see why. It’s your typical Amodovar – high camp and theatrics, convoluted plot – but at the same time it isn’t. It also clocks in at one and a half hours but feels longer than that.

I thought it was terrific.

Penelope Cruz was as radiant as ever. Almodovar clearly adores her. Every moment she’s on screen you can almost feel that he becomes more involved. It’s almost like he is painting her, each frame of her like an artist’s brush stroke in thick, luscious sweeps of oil.

For all the focus on Cruz and other female characters – Blanca Portillo is a joy to watch and has some hilarious scene-stealing moments – this is a film about men. The evil that men do, men in love, the relationship between father and son, homosexuality, male pride – so much so that it could have been called Men On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown. The only other Almodovar I can recall that deals with male relationships is Bad Education. However, it’s obvious that it’s the female perspective that truly interests Almodovar and squarley where his sympathies lay.

The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to grab some film stills of this bad boy! I’m not going to ruin any visual surprises but I’d gladly see it again, and probably will, just because of this alone. The other thing I loved about it was the way the story unfolded in slowly undulating waves, flowing from past to present, shifting focus… The recurring mantra is “film within a film”.

Usually, Almodovar films are quite chaotic affairs but Broken Embraces somehow manages to be both busy yet calm at the same time. It’s also very, very funny whilst at times it’s repels you.

Finally, Code Red. Red appears judiciously throughout the film. An Almodovar signature as we all know but the use of red in this film is so intense that its almost overpowering. I find this use of red quite interesting. It makes me think of the way the designer Valentino would always include a red dress in collections. Perhaps Pantone should create an Almodovar Red. A million obvious parallels could be drawn:

Eve

Red apple – in this case red tomatoes

Red lips

Sex

Rage

Danger

Blood

Lust

It’s that Vampiric theme I was banging on about in an earlier post, or was going to, rearing its head again. The idea hasn’t quite formed yet but the pieces seem to be falling together.

This one’s for you Nomia, Tyra-nnical, Beounce’:

Listen.

Girls, all this talk about addiction and weaves in earlier posts [see Fierce! and Homecoming] got me thinking.

This has Got. To. Stop!!!

WTF. You’re all going bald! Are you blind? Who’s doing your hair? Sack them!

Jeeez, I can understand the appeal of silky, flowing locks garnered from the Indian Sub continent but this is crayzeeee! Look in the mirror, girls. No, it’s not a dark shadow you see lurking there. No, it’s not a frown ditch – you’ve probably maxed out on some botulin-induced frown intervention anyway. And it most definitely ain’t a trick of the light.

It’s your receding hairline, girls. And if you’re not careful you’re gonna end up with Weave Mullet Syndrome – and that isn’t a type of fish!

It’s WEAVE STUBBLE. This Must STOP. Do not pass go, go straight to Weave Jail for hairline abuse and get them taken out. It might not be too late. The campaign starts here – Follicular Respect: Free Your Weave [FRFYW]. Love your scalp, treasure your hairline. It wlll love you back. Hell, it might just grow back. Buy some scalp manure and stay away from sunlight till your frontal follicles begin to sprout forth.

But weave addiction is the most dangerous and evil of them all. The hardest to stop. I feel your pain girls. So if you really, really, really can’t quit then give your scalps some respite from time to time. They needs a vactaion too.

If all else fails, get a fringe. It’s all about damage control, I guess.

I love y’all but home truths, sweeties, home truths. This is comin’ straight from the heart. You’ll thank me for it one day.

Don’t we all love a good old-fashioned comeback? Don’t we? Been listening to the new Whitney Houston album endlessly on her website not as a form of self-inflicted aural torture but as a sign of respect. Respect, you ask? What, for a crack head baby mamma? Hey, we all make mistakes AND I’M ROOTING FOR HER. Gives us all hope. Well done, Whitney! Good for you! Ok, I don’t love the album but I can sympathise with how difficult it is to pitch yourself to the right audience when you’ve blacked out for pretty much a decade. You’re older, you sound a little husky [kind of like that, actually] and you’re a bit out of touch. In all fairness it’s not too ballad-y, if you know what I mean and Million Dollar Bill is a sonic slice of happiness. It’s not bad at all. Actually, I quite like it. And she’s looking great. A bit more like her Aunty Dionne Warwick as she progresses through to her twilight years. At least she’s no longer in the Twilight Zone. And I hope she’s checked out of there permanently…

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Dionne Warwick

OK she’s had a lot of stick in the past for looking a touch “hombre”, our Ciara but I have to give it to the girl. She is working it!

“I’ll show you I ain’t a FELLA, all you haters! Y’all betta watch and learn. OK I ain’t got no fancy Europienne designers makin’ me costumes like Bouncey’ has but I gots the styles! Yo, check this out. Don’t I look fierce in my FIERCE zipper catsuit thing? Don’t those boot/ leg-snatcher thingies show My Modest Potential off lak a hot dream on a sultry southern evening? Ok, I look a bit ridiculous sun-lounging in an abandoned truck tyre, try’n ma banks to look all hookerish… but hey I gots The Body, y’all. I IS FIERCENESS personifah’d! And My thigh’s are slender than your’s, Bouncey. And they ain’t encased in tights that Tina Turner threw out in 1975!!! You get me, girl!?! Yes, you, Bouncey. Wich yo weave and yo Armanis. Girl, you ain’t a GRANNY just yet! I may not have your budget but I ain’t gotch yo hips either, praise the lord!!! Halleujah!

And yo better watch yo back, Boounce’ cause I is comin atch ya.

And I can run faster than ya.

And what I don’t get my sister Manny J Blags will collect and dispose. Watch yo weave, girl. Diana Ross is missin’ one, you WEAVE GRABBER!  Give it back!! I ain’t playin’. Remember, I IS FIERCE!!!”

[Author’s Note: I warned you that this blog was going to be totally random. I’m only warming up…]

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intimate strangers end scene

I’m a sucker for ye ole cinema Frenchy, especially the bourgeois kind where someone’s always giving a violin or cello some finger love [Un Coeur un Hiver] or staring off camera in a melancholic, yearning sort of way. Or suddenly turning their head to stare at you mid-pout, mock horror. Yes, a bit shlocky, I know. “Fromageoise” for sure. Mais oui, J’aime beaucoup. Can’t help it.

Anyway, one digresses. This is probably one of my all time favourite closing scenes of the beautifully odd love story “Confidences Trop Intimes” (2004) starring Sandrine Bonnaire in full on frump mode. love the way that they never kiss or barely touch each other throughout the entire film. It’s frustrating and claustrophobic. And the film ends with her admitting defeat in the face of love [sounding a bit Babs Cartlands here] and seeks her shrink lover who has now moved from the city to a beachside apartment – don’t ask. It ends with her on the analyst’s couch and him sat down watching her. They talk. There’s a lot of talking in that film, BTW. The camera slowly pans out from above and I find the whole thing graphically pleasing to one’s eye. probably the most romantic end to a film I’ve ever seen.

(Sing along to the tune of Beyonce’s “If I Were A boy”.)

If I were a girl, without any delay,

I’d get AddLee down to Bond Street

Jump out in front of Miu Miu

And lust after this beautiful coat…

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If I were a girl, I know how I’d wear this coat

I’d team it with my Loubies,

My lanvin blouse

and Marni skirrrrrrt, oh, yay!

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I’d reach for my purse

Bet you know how it hurts

When you lose the one you wanted

To Cheryl, Pixie, Kelly [heaven forbid] or Alexa

And saw it plastered all over Heat…

[Oh, noooooooo, ooooh, noooo-0-ooo oh!]

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If I were a girl…

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“We make our own choices…and we pay our own prices”. Saw this recently for the first time in ages and remembered how good it was! Gina Gershon’s bitchin’ and Jennifer Tilly’s just smouldering. Nicely shot film, especially the bit at the end when Corky shoots her gangster boy-fiend and crimson droplets fall onto the spilled white paint on the floor, marking it like a new Jackson Pollock painting. Femme fatale meets James Dean, very Dolce, no?

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This guy’s amazing. He seems to live in a certain West London pub and always has some random mix of wrist accessories and rings. The Kaiser could learn a thing or two. This is how it’s done, West London stylee! I also like to think of him as, wait for it, Lord of The Rings. He was quite happy to pose for me. He thought I was a bit weird…IMG_0362

Another late night in Paris. It was early on in the evening, not too busy just yet, the edgy fashionistas, Eurotrashistas and Big-walletistas/No-personalitistas hadn’t swamped the club. You could actually feel the air conditioning – this was back in July and Paris wasn’t quite a deadzone just yet. Just liked the way the lights looked and the starburst-y effect the crappy camera on my iPhone gave.

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Really liking Trueblood. What is it with our obsession with all things vampiric? Will discuss this later… Click on the Digital Kitchen blog in my list of links. They’re the team responsible for these incredible images.