Bad Education (2005)

by | Aug 29, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Bad Education (2005)

Starring:  Gael Garcia Bernal, Fele Martinez, Daniel Gimenez Cacho
Studio:  Sony Pictures Classic
Video:  2.35:1 Widescreen Enhanced
Audio:  Spanish 5.1
Extras:  Previews (Being Julia, House of Flying Daggers, The
Merchant of Venice, Imaginary Heroes, All About My Mother, The Flower
of My Secret, Talk to Her, The Crimes of Padre Amaro), Bad Education
Trailer (English & Spanish), Audio Commentary (Spanish), Photo
Gallery, Deleted Scenes (2), Red Carpet Footage from the AFI Film
Festival Featurette (18 min), Making of Bad Education (2 min)
Length:  105 minutes
Rating:  ***1/2

The meat of this film takes place in 1980 and begins when Enrique, a
well-known film director, gets a visit from a young man who claims to
be his childhood friend, Ignacio.  They haven’t seen each other in
16 years, but Ignacio, being a struggling actor, has no problem asking
if Enrique has a part for him.  Enrique explains that he is
without any good ideas at the moment, so Ignacio offers him a story he
has written called “The Visit” about their school days.  At this
point the film transitions to tell the story of a transvestite named
Zahara and her encounter with Enrique one night when he was drunk and
came to see her in a club.  Next, the film goes back farther to
the time the two friends spent together in Catholic school. 
Ignacio and Enrique became more than just friends as kids, but Enrique
was taken out of school and they hadn’t seen each other since. 
One of the priests at the school took advantage of Ignacio and now, as
an adult Ignacio has decided to blackmail him.  Meanwhile, in the
present, Enrique desires Ignacio, but Ignacio spurns his
advances.  But Ignacio wants a part in this new film that has
Enrique so enraptured.  Enrique is supremely curious and goes back
to Ignacio’s home town to discover the real truth.  He decides to
let Ignacio have the role, but only in return for sexual favors. 
He doesn’t know that Enrique knows more than he is saying, but the
story isn’t truly complete until the priest comes to Enrique during the
filming and tells him the real end of the story—quite different from
the way Ignacio tells it.

This film was written and directed by Pedro Almodovar, who is known for
films like All About My Mother, Talk to Her, and Women on the Verge of
a Nervous Breakdown.  When a film is so well done as this one, it
is easy to think that filmmaking is but a simple exercise.  The
characters are developed with words, flashbacks, body language, and the
viewer feels like we know their every thought, feeling, and
motivation.  The story has an interesting twist in the middle and
the viewer is kept in the dark on the full impact of this secret to the
very end of the film.  During the early scenes with the characters
as kids, their innocence is so obviously laid bare in a poetic
manner.  When harsh life experiences are put into contrast with
this innocence, the viewer can instantly connect the actions of the
characters and their personalities later in life.  And it isn’t
just the lead characters that are of interest, but all the
characters.  The subject matter is the only reservation for a
higher recommendation.  Sexuality plays a large part in this film
and includes several scenes with transvestites and a transsexual as
well as depictions of gay sex.  There are so many depictions of
sex in film these days that it is probably not even worth mentioning,
except to warn those who may be offended.  For those who are not
bothered or deterred, this film could easily earn four stars.

-Brian Bloom
 

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