Live Flesh

19 Jun

Director: Pedro Almodovar (1997)
Almodovar will forever be the unshakable master of tales of love, romance and the dirt that lies beneath both these things. Live Flesh is no exception. Boasting a young and knee-quiveringly handsome Javier Bardem as a young policeman, David, Live Flesh tells the story of jealousy, revenge and the overwhelming power and necessity of sensuality in life that permeates through Almodovar’s world.

Brought into this world on the floor of a bus by his drug addled mother (Penelope Cruz), Victor Plaza (Liberto Rabal) hasn’t had the easiest of lives. As a twenty year old virgin, Victor embraces the inevitable Oedipal complex the Fates promised him and finds himself in flagrante with a drug addled prostitute, Elena (Francesca Neri), fulfilling his dreams of sex but also bringing a presumption that this should be the start of something beautiful.

Appearing at Elena’s home, her feelings, or lack thereof, are made clear and she promptly tells him to skedaddle. But while she is high on crack, he is high on the memory of sweet toilet stall loving and refuses to take no for an answer. Hearing a scuffle, neighbours call the police, David and partner Sancho, who come to her rescue but not before a shot is fired, resulting in David paralysed and Victor in jail.

Two years later, David is a famous wheelchair basket ball player, married to Elena – now less junkie, more beautiful. Meanwhile Victor has made the most out of his incarceration, educating himself and beefing up. While he may now be a free man from the confines of the jail, he is still confined by the rage he feels seeing David with his love. Fuelled by his love and no doubt lack of sex, Victor begins his quest to regain his ownership of the woman he once rightfully paid for. Of course, Almodovar would never make it so simple. Throw in a heady mix of extra marital affairs, betrayal and paralysis and we are on the right track for yet another gripping, emotional thriller.

Live Flesh is a sexy and turbulent insight into human nature, playing the ones we love against the ones we desire in a world that has not always dealt us the fairest hands. Then again, perhaps the trials we are sent are the universes’ way of putting us back in our place. Provocative on all levels.

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