Tuesday, 16 August 2011

La flor de mi secreto / The Flower of My Secret (Pedro Almodóvar, 1995)

Marisa Paredes and Imanol Arias
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Screenwriter: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Marisa Paredes, Juan Echanove, Imanol Arias, Chus Lampreave, Rossy De Palma.
Synopsis: Leo (Paredes) secretly writes bestselling romance novels under the pseudonym Amanda Gris, but as her marriage to Paco (Arias) falls apart (he is in Brussels working for NATO) she finds herself unable to write and her fiction takes a darker turn, much to the annoyance of her publisher (who threatens to sue). Hoping to be taken seriously as a writer, and wanting to leave her romance novels behind, Leo approaches Angel (Echanove) -the arts editor at El País- about writing criticism for the paper. Her first job? Reviewing the new Amanda Gris anthology. She decides to commit commercial suicide and attacks the book with gusto. Everything comes to a head when Paco comes home on leave…

The film marks the beginning of a more ‘serious’ phase in Almodóvar’s career. Aside from Marisa Paredes’s powerfully pain-stricken performance, it is probably most interesting for containing elements that would go on the shape the plots of All About My Mother and Volver. The organ donation scenes (specifically the training course for doctors, which features a nurse called Manuela ‘playing’ the mother in the role play) recur in All About My Mother, and the plot of the much darker novel (‘The Freezer’) that is rejected by the Amanda Gris publishers includes plot points that appear in Volver (the freezer of the title is where the main character hides her husband’s body in the restaurant next door).