All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre) (1999) - Pedro Almodóvar

Todo sobre mi madre / All About My Mother - 1999
A Film by Pedro Almodóvar
DVD9 (VIDEO_TS) Custom | PAL 16:9 (720x576) | 0114 | 8,05 Gb
Audio: Spanish, French dub - both AC3 5.1 @ 384 Kbps | Subs: French; added - English, Norwegian, German, Italian
Genre: Drama | Won Oscar + 47 wins | Spain, France

After her son is hit by a car and killed on his seventeenth birthday, Manuela (Cecilia Roth) makes her way back to Barcelona, where she had previously lived with the boy's father. There she comes into contact with a number of quirky individuals, including a transsexual male prostitute, a pregnant nun, and a lesbian actress.


DVDBeaver - Pathé Distribution Ltd.

All About My Mother ( Todo sobre mi madre ) is dedicated "To Bette Davis, Gena Rowlands, Romy Schneider...To all actresses who have played actresses, to all women who act, to men who act and become women, to all people who want to become mothers. To my mother" And indeed that's just what it is - a moving, remarkable tribute to mothers and actresses, to motherhood and gender, from Manuela (Cecilia Roth), who channels the once inconsolable grief she bears for her dead son, killed in an accident, to mothering of other sorts: from acting as the personal assistant to a middle-aged lesbian actress (Marisa Paredes), to caring for a pregnant, HIV-positive nun (Penelope Cruz, in an early, star-making role).

Men are incidental in this Oscar-winning portrait (it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film) of the indomitable inner strength and sisterhood of these deeply troubled women, whom Almodovar declares are role-playing both literally and figuratively, as actresses on stage, and as symbolized by Manuela's friend Agrado, a sassy transsexual prostitute (Antonia San Juan) and Lola (Toni Canto), Agrado's transgendered ex-roommate who fathered both Manuela's and the nun's child. As Agrado puts it, "You are more authentic the more you resemble what you've dreamed of being."

...In a vibrant and vivacious yet emotive and engaging effort that resounds with sophisticated sentimentality and screwball comedy in the best of ways, All About My Mother relates the tale of Manuela (Cecilia Roth), a single mother to only child Esteban (Eloy Azorin). After celebrating his seventeenth birthday at a performance of A Streetcar Named Desire, Esteban is killed whilst chasing the play’s star Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes) for an autograph, leaving Manuela to deal with the aftermath of the tragedy. Piecing her life back together as she copes with her loss, Manuela sets off in search of the elder Esteban, a transvestite now known by the name of Lola (Toni Cantó), and the father her son never knew he had. On the streets of Barcelona the grieving mother finds more than just her lost lover, reuniting with old friends, making new connections, and attempting to fill the void left by the deceased Esteban.

With transsexual prostitute la Agrado (Antonia San Juan) her first port of call in the city, Manuela is welcomed home with open arms, quickly becoming a part of the lives and loves of her estranged pal and the motley crew of women around her. Among her new acquaintances is actress Huma, her son’s idol, and a woman with her own issues with drug-addicted lover Nina Cruz (Candela Peña). However, it is selfless nun Rosa (Penélope Cruz) that has the strongest impact upon Manuela’s quest, with the resilient young woman pregnant and suffering from AIDS. The fact that Rosa’s unborn child shares Lola as a father with Manuela’s Esteban brings the ladies closer together, with Rosa the key to tracking down their elusive former lover, as well as the purveyor of hope amidst Manuela’s mourning.

When Rosa succumbs to her condition during childbirth, Manuela is charged with raising the infant. Also named Esteban, the baby reignites Manuela’s maternal instincts, with her strength confirmed after finally meeting Lola. Marked by their similarities despite years apart, the pair have more than history in common, with motherhood and three generations of Estebans tying the duo together. Despite the concern of Rosa’s parents (Fernando Fermán Gómez) and (Rosa Maria Sardà), Manuela devotes her energies to the child’s welfare whilst coming to terms with the absence of her biological son, as the legacy of their shared father remains.

Mirroring the filmmaker’s dedication, the marketing campaign for All About My Mother placed significant emphasis on the universality of the story, focusing on the statement “part of every woman is a mother, part of every woman is an actress, part of every woman is a sinner, part of every woman is a saint, part of every man is a woman”. Although the use of phrases of the type often emits an air of contrivance, in this case the wording accurately captures the authenticity of Almodóvar’s feature, encapsulating his stated aim to appeal to all aspects of femininity and maternity. Achieving the feat in both concept and execution, the masterful director crafts a composite narrative that not only champions the fairer sex, but relates their plight on the humanistic rather than strictly gender-based level. Accordingly, the perceptive, provocative and poignant film is layered with depth not often associated with films with such a strong female contingent, whilst featuring nuances not commonly seen in the melodrama genre.

Bearing the influence of everything from his debut Pepi, Luci, Bom And Other Girls On The Heap (Pepi, Luci, Bom y Otras Chicas del Montón) to the thematic precursor The Flower Of My Secret (La Flor de Mi Secreto), Almodóvar’s obvious exuberance and expected expressiveness is apparent, as is the impact of a raft of other features. Drawing more than its title from All About Eve, and resembling the works of Tennessee Williams (as referenced in the film itself) and Douglas Sirk, the feature unfolds as an achievement in its own right, as well as a playful combination of parody and pastiche. Unafraid to borrow from the likes of Alfred Hitch**** and Truman Capote as well, Almodóvar weaves such works into his unique creation, ensuring the offering remains fresh rather than familiar. In lesser hands, the apparent inter-textuality may have been dismissed as laziness, however with his trademark Spanish flair the assembly from the Cannes best director winner is nothing short of inspired.

Of course, without the superlative performances of the convincing cast Almodóvar’s directorial stylings may not have been as successful, with Roth thoroughly deserving of her multiple accolades (including Goya, Chlotrudis, Premios ACE and European Film awards). San Juan and Peña are each also outstanding, whilst Cruz impresses in the second of her four collaborations to date with the helmer (including Live Flesh, Volver and Broken Embraces). Combined with minor but also measured turns from Paredes, Sardà and select male inclusions Azorin, Cantó and Gómez, the cumulative effect of the rich tapestry of portrayals translates the impact of the script in a satisfying and sincere manner. With best foreign film recognition at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs as well as the Oscars, All About My Mother is an undoubted tour de force of emotion and energy about parental bonds and unexpected paths, family and friendship, and loss and love, with Almodóvar striking the perfect balance between complexity, charm and compassion.

Special Features:
- Documents du festival de Cannes 1999: Montée des marches (03:59), Cérémonie de clôture (04:30), Conférence de presse (06:45)
- Filmographies Acteurs et réalisateur
- Theatrical Trailer (01:30)
- Bonus Trailers for Talons Aiguillés (01:46), Kika (02:43), La Flor de mi secreto (02:10), Átame (00:36)
- Notes de production

DVD Info

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and to Elan for added subtitles.

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