Film Screening 6th September, 2005

Poster for Bad Education (La Mala Educaion)

Bad Education (La Mala Educaion) 

8:00 PM, 6th September, 2005

  • MA
  • 104 mins
  • 2004
  • Pedro Almodovar
  • Pedro Almodovar
  • Gael Garc((iacute))a Bernal, Fele Mart((iacute))nez, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Lluis Homar

Almodovar compared this film to a Russian doll. You know the kind: it opens, and there's another inside, and so on. The layers go on almost indefinitely, and only a fraction of the whole doll is apparent from the outside. It's a great comparison, and I'm running with it: the characters here are like these dolls, too: they seem straightforward enough, until they open up to reveal infinite complexity.

Enrique (Martinez), a young director, is visited by Angel (Bernal), a man claiming to be Enrique's first love, Ignatio. Angel has written a screenplay about their experience at school, encompassing both their own relationship and Ignatio's abuse by the school principal, Father Manolo (Cacho).

That's one layer, anyway. Enrique doesn't recognise Angel as Ignatio - but then, fifteen years have passed. The screenplay's ending is fictionalised, or so we believe. The film-within-a-film takes on a life, and an authenticity, of its own. So do the characters we assume to be fictional.

Bad Education has been compared to Vertigo (for the twisting identities) and Memento (for the twisting plot structure). It's riveting and disorienting and a bit like being on a rollercoaster made of funhouse mirrors, only without the nausea and the screaming.

Helena Sverdlin