Thursday, 4 August 2011

La ley del deseo / Law of Desire (Pedro Almodóvar, 1987)

Eusebio Poncela and Antonio Banderas
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Screenwriter: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Carmen Maura, Eusebio Poncela, Manuela Velasco.
Synopsis: A stalker (Banderas) enters the lives of director Pablo (Poncela) and his sister (formerly brother) Tina (Maura) with tragic consequences –a tale of love and obsession.

This is the first of Almodóvar’s films to be produced by the production company (El Deseo) that he founded with his brother Agustín, and therefore the first of his productions where he had full control over the project. In many ways it is a flipside to his previous film, Matador, insofar as both explore the nature of desire: in Matador desire was centred on sex (and murder) and in Law of Desire the focus is love (in many different guises). Nonetheless desire is shown to be just as obsessive (and dangerous) as in the earlier film as what Pablo (Poncela) views as a casual relationship is seen as rather more by Antonio (Banderas), whose ‘love’ is in turn both obsessive and extremely possessive. Although not without its humorous moments, it is a dark film. That said, I think we are given enough reason to hope that the family unit made up of Pablo, Tina (Maura) and Ada (Velasco) is strong enough to survive the (moving) finale. Maura’s performance is magnificent and she richly deserved the awards that came her way.