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#TIFF19 Review: Pain and Glory (Special Presentations)

September 7, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★★ (out of 4)

Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) is an aging filmmaker plagued by chronic pain and a sense of creative stagnancy. When a revival screening is booked of Sabor, the last movie he made before his career started drying up, Salvador reunites with the film’s star, Alberto (Asier Etxeandia), whom he hasn’t spoken to in years. Alberto is a junkie, which causes Salvador to start doing heroin. This sends him down a path of remembering moments from his early life as a child (Asier Flores) in Spain, as memories of his mother (Penélope Cruz), and other figures from his past, start flooding back.

The latest from master filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, Pain and Glory is a beautiful work filled with colour and emotion, carried by a powerful, career-defining performance from Banderas, who won Best Actor at Cannes. While it might not seem this way at first, the film actually becomes a bit of a puzzle box, with our understanding of the story constantly evolving and turning in on itself as more elements of Salvador’s life are revealed through his memories.

José Luis Alcaine’s cinematography is brilliant and vibrant, with symbolic splashes of the colour red appearing throughout. The result is a sumptuous, entertaining and very moving look at the intersections between movies and memories, that finds both Almodóvar and Banderas in top form, and provides a richly rewarding cinematic experience.

Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory

Public Screenings:

Friday, September 6th – 5:30 PM at Ryerson

Saturday, September 7th – 2:45 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

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