LA MALA EDUCACIÓN (2004): Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodóvar’s 2004 film, LA MALA EDUCACIÓN (Bad Education), comes with a crispy narrative and a sensual depiction of corruption and crime. Having opened the 57th Cannes Film Festival, this multi-layered film unconventionally tells four different stories but still makes you get it.
Enrique Goded gets a visit from an old friend – Ignacio Rodriguez. Now known for his stage name Angel Andrage, Ignacio brings with him a story that he wishes to submit for Enrique’s consideration. See, Enrique is now an established movie director and has been known for producing relevant films. As Enrique flips through the pages of Ignacio’s story, he realizes that it is a semi-biographical memoir of their past and the traumas they experienced during their early years. Along with the story’s narrative are potential threats to known institutions, their families and even the Church. Nonetheless, Enrique calls Ignacio back for a second meeting, to explore the possiblity of making a film out of his story. Little does he know, that between the pages of Ignacio’s memoir lie different levels of truth that will test Enrique’s artistic and moral convictions.
Pedro Almodóvar is known for his compelling visual direction, and LA MALA EDUCACIÓN is not an exemption. With its bursting colors and astonishing periodic cinematography, the film becomes a visual feast. As we go deeper in the narrative, we see how the frame shrinks and expand to establish narrative dimensions and separate milieus. Enrique and Ignacio’s journey involves different levels of narrative, and Almodovar wonderfully exhibits his talent in story-telling, putting every plotline comprehensively adjacent to each, making the viewing such a breeze.
Great to mention, too, is Gael Garcia Bernal’s dashingly sensual performance as Angel, Ignacio and Zahara. Here, he puts on more than one role, thus offering more dimensional characterizations of suspicious dualities.
LA MALA EDUCACION is a powerful tale about love, deception, betrayal and corruption. Almodóvar’s subtle discourses on both socio-political and gender issues present a stunningly surreal argument of the things we accept – despite of, and in spite of.
4 STARS OUT OF 5