Broken Embraces. 2009. Spain. Directed by Pedro Almodóvar. With Penélope Cruz, Blanca Portillo, José Luis Gómez, Lluís Homar. 35mm. In Spanish; English subtitles. 128 min.
Harry Caine (Lluís Homar), a blind screenwriter and former director, reflects on his lost love Lena (Penelope Cruz) and their last film together—a film similar to Almodóvar’s own brightly colored Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Told in Almodóvar’s typical layered-storytelling style, but with a new kind of melancholy, Cruz’s fourth collaboration with the director proves that she inspires a certain softness from him. Lena, a tragic figure eager for transformation, is described by Almodovar as “maybe the saddest character I ever wrote…. She is hard—a fallen angel. And that is the biggest challenge I have given Penélope so far.”