Film review: Dolor y Gloria (Director: Pedro Almodóvar)
By Sascha Krieger
Water. The pale bluish twilight of a swimming pool reveals a scar, real and symbolic, a trace of decades of liefe, loss and suffering. Eyes closed, the scar’s wearer travels back, to a childhood memory, the stagnant pool transformed into a lively river drenched in sunlight, an almost unnatural lightness, a child smiling at his mother and her friends as they wash clothes among the dancing fishes. and sing. As he will, years later, becoming the solo choirboy at his Catholic school, before finding a different voice, that of a writer and film maker, a voice destroyed by pain and regret and self-pity before it re-emerges. Dolor y Gloria is Pedro Almodóvar’s most autobiographical film to date, an homage to the transformative and healing power of art and the necessity for it to correspond with life, in more than one direction. In it, Almodóvar goes back to an old companion, Antonio Banderas. Working together, they launched each other’s careers, now the director trusts his former star with his own alter ego. It’s a perfect choice for a film in which things often come full circle, the present takes up the threads of the past, art fills in the holes of life and coincidence acts as an agent of almost god-like benevolence.