Broken Embraces (2009)—Spain
Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar asks a lot from his audience. This is a film about a blind film director who's making a film that itself is being filmed. Got that? Director and writer Mateo Blanco is now blind, but in a series of flash backs we learn how fourteen years earlier he brought to stardom and fell in love with a gorgeous woman named Lena (Penelope Cruz) while making his film Girls and Suitcases. The only problem, in addition to his existing marriage, is that the elderly mega-millionaire Ernesto Martel paid for the film because he was pathologically obsessed with Lena after having taken her as a live-in mistress. When he discovers Lena's involvement with Mateo, he has his gay son voyeuristically film the making of Girls and Suitcases, and even hires a lip-reading stenographer to record their every conversation. There are other complex layers to this film that warrant multiple viewings, but tragedy is the destiny for everyone. Across the two hours we learn why Mateo assumed the alias Harry Caine, how he became blind, and the ultimate satisfaction he gained at the end. In Spanish with English subtitles.