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Broken Embraces

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Genre  Drama, Romance, Thriller
Music director  Alberto Iglesias
Writer  Pedro Almodovar
Language  Spanish English
7.2/10 IMDb

Director  Pedro Almodovar
Initial DVD release  March 16, 2010
Country  Spain
Broken Embraces movie poster
Release date  18 March 2009 (2009-03-18)
Initial release  March 17, 2009 (Barcelona)
Cast  Penélope Cruz (Lena), Lluís Homar (Mateo Blanco / Harry Caine), Blanca Portillo (Judit García), José Luis Gómez (Ernesto Martel), Rubén Ochandiano (Ray X), Tamar Novas (Diego)
Similar movies  The Bourne Ultimatum, The Tobacconist of Vallecas, Días contados, Clandestinos, El asesinato de Carrero Blanco, Candy Razors

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The death of Ernesto Martel (Jose Luis Gomez) sets off a chain of events that forces one man to come to terms with his past. Before he went blind, Harry Caine was Mateo Blanco (Lluis Homar), a film director who often worked with Ernesto. Ten years ago, Ernesto and Mateos friendship became a battle for Lena (Penelope Cruz), Ernestos mistress and Mateos secret object of affection. When the former recruits his son (Ruben Ochandiano) to spy on the latter, things quickly spiral out of control.


Broken Embraces movie scenes

Broken Embraces (Spanish: ) is a 2009 Spanish romantic thriller film written, produced, and directed by Pedro Almodovar. Led by an ensemble cast consisting of many Almodovar regulars, it stars Lluis Homar as a blind Madrilenian screenwriter who recalls his tragic love for Lena, played by Penelope Cruz, the deceased lead actress in his last directional feature Girls and Suitcases, who was also the mistress of a powerful, obsessive businessman (Jose Luis Gomez). Blanca Portillo co-stars as his agent Judit, while Tamar Novas portrays her son and Caines co-writer Diego.

Broken Embraces movie scenes

Inspired by darkness and by a photo of a couple, that Almodovar took of El Golfo beach in Lanzarote in the late 1990s, the film serves as an homage to filmmaking, cinema and its various film genres. Stylistically, it is a complex noir-ish melodrama, that also blends comic elements with a film within a film—a broad comedy, that hearkens back to Almodovars 1988 release, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Thematically, Broken Embraces addresses themes like voyeurism, repression, prostitution, death, vengeance, fixation, illness, and drugs.

Broken Embraces movie scenes

Broken Embraces was one of the films competing for the Palme dOr at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. Dubbed "purest Almodovar" by The New Yorker, the film was noted for the directors characteristic "bright primary colors," erotic subject matter, and meticulous, "visually pulsating" cinematography. The picture was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at both the 2009 British Academy Film Awards and the 67th Golden Globe Awards.

Broken Embraces movie scenes

Harry Caine, a blind writer, reaches this moment in time when he has to heal his wounds from 14 years back. He was then still known by his real name, Mateo Blanco, and directing his last movie.

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Broken Embraces movie scenes

"Harry Caine" is a blind writer who shares his life with his agent Judit and her adult son, Diego. Slowly, events in the present begin to bring back memories of the past. Harry hears that millionaire Ernesto Martel has died; a young filmmaker, Ray X, appears and turns out to be Martels son, Ernesto, Jr. After Diego is hospitalized for an accidental drug overdose in a Madrid nightclub, Harry collects Diego from the hospital and looks after him to avoid worrying his traveling mother. The main storyline is told in flashback as Harry reluctantly tells Diego a tragic tale of fate, jealousy, abuse of power, betrayal, and guilt.

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The first flashback is to 1992, which introduces Magdalena "Lena" Rivero, Martels beautiful young secretary, an aspiring actress. She becomes close to Martel, a millionaire financier, in order to find the money to help meet her dying fathers medical bills. By 1994, she has become Martels mistress. At this time, Harry is still living under his real name, Mateo Blanco, a well-respected film director. Martel is excessively possessive of Lena, but she is determined to become an actress and manages to win the main role in Blancos film Chicas y maletas (Girls and Suitcases) by bringing Martel in as financier/producer. (The fictional film is similar to Almodovars 1988 release, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, except that the Shiite terrorists have been replaced by a cocaine dealer; several of the cast of the previous film appear in the fictional one.) Martel spies on Lena and Mateo by sending his inhibited, effeminate gay son, Ernesto, Jr., to videotape the production of the film, ostensibly for a "making of" feature, then hiring a lip-reader to interpret the conversations. Martel, seething with jealousy, screens the videos as the lip-reader narrates the furtive whispers of Lena and Mateos passionate affair.

Broken Embraces movie scenes

Furious, Martel confronts Lena, and when she threatens to leave him he pushes her down the stairs. But when she survives the fall, he relents and nurses her back to health. The filming completed, Lena and Blanco escape Martels hold and go on holiday to Lanzarote. Lena takes a job as a hotel receptionist to pass the time. When she and Blanco read in El Pais that Chicas y maletas has received a terrible critical reception, likely the end of Blancos directing career, they determine to start over together far from Madrid. Fate intervenes when Blanco is seriously injured and Lena is killed in a car accident, which ironically is immortalized by Ernesto Jr., who has been trailing them with his camcorder. Mateo loses his sight permanently. Judit, his long-time production assistant, and an 8-year-old Diego arrive to help Blanco pick up the pieces and return to Madrid, where he eventually writes screenplays in braille under the pseudonym Harry Caine, represented by his agent, Judit.

Broken Embraces movie scenes

The story picks up where it began in 2008: Harry shares his birthday in a bar with Judit and Diego. Judit becomes drunk on gin and, stricken with guilt, confesses to Harry that she sold out to Martel in 1994 because of her fury at Harry for abandoning the film to run away with Lena; she also tells him of her involvement in providing Martel the phone number of the hotel in Lanzarote where Lena and Mateo were hiding. She confirms that Martel sabotaged the release of Chicas y maletas by using the worst take from each scene in order to destroy Mateos reputation. The next morning she reveals to Diego that Harry is actually his father, a fact both men were unaware of. Having exorcised some of his demons, Harry decides to return to his life as Mateo Blanco. Though believed lost, the original reels of Chicas y maletas and Ernesto Jr.s camcorder footage are recovered: Judit had ignored Martels order to destroy them and instead hid them away. Mateo and Diego re-edit the film for its long-delayed release as the director envisioned it.


  • Penelope Cruz as Magdalena "Lena" Rivas
  • Blanca Portillo as Judit
  • Lluis Homar as Mateo Blanco / Harry Caine
  • Lola Duenas as Lectora de labios
  • Angela Molina as Mrs. Rivas
  • Rossy de Palma as Julieta
  • Jose Luis Gomez as Ernesto Martel
  • Tamar Novas as Diego
  • Ruben Ochandiano as Ray X / Ernesto Martel, Jr.
  • Chus Lampreave as Portera
  • Kiti Manver as Madame Mylene
  • Mariola Fuentes as Edurne
  • Carmen Machi as Chon
  • Kira Miro as Modelo
  • Alejo Sauras as Alex
  • Reception

    Broken Embraces movie scenes Broken Embraces 2009

    The film has received generally positive reviews by critics; review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 81% of critics gave the film a positive rating, based on 145 reviews. Its consensus states "Pedro Almodovars fourth film with Penelope Cruz isnt his finest work, but he brings his signature visual brilliance to this noirish tale, and the cast turns in some first-class performances." It currently holds a score of 76 (generally favorable reviews) on Metacritic. Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film four out of four stars, and wrote that "Broken Embraces is a voluptuary of a film, drunk on primary colors, caressing Penelope Cruz, using the devices of a Hitchcock to distract us with surfaces while the sinister uncoils beneath."

    Broken Embraces movie scenes Broken Embraces Picture 21

    The film was accepted into the main selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in competition for the prestigious Palme dOr, Almodovars third to do so, and fourth to screen at the festival. Broken Embraces was nominated for the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Almodovars sixth film to be nominated in this category. It was also nominated for the Satellite Award for Best Foreign Language Film, as well as the Satellite Award for Best Actress for Penelope Cruzs performance.


    Broken Embraces movie scenes Broken Embraces Penelope Cruz

    The film includes an original soundtrack album composed entirely by Alberto Iglesias, which was released in Spain on CD format to coincide with the films release. The film also includes two English tracks from American artists: "Robot Oeuf" by Uffie, and a cover of Michael Hurleys "Werewolf" by Cat Power.


    Broken Embraces Wikipedia
    Broken Embraces IMDbBroken Embraces Roger EbertBroken Embraces Rotten TomatoesBroken Embraces MetacriticBroken Embraces