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BAD EDUCATION

The latest film from the darkly playful Almodovar skips back and forth over a period of years as it deals with the consequences of a lustful priest’s violation of a soulful Spanish schoolboy and his cruel treatment of the boy’s best friend.

CAST: Gael Garcia Bernal, Fele Martinez, Daniel Gimenez, Lluis Homar, Javier, Camara, Petra Martinez, Nacho Perez, Raul Garcia Forneiro

WRITER/DIRECTOR: Pedro Almodovar

“Pedro Almodóvar’s triumphantly accomplished ‘Bad Education’ is both a summation of his career thus far and a deepening of his recent style...Complex and devious beyond easy recounting, ‘Bad Education’ is about the fallout from the ending of a ‘pure’ love between boys, consecrated in an Almodóvaran temple—a movie theatre. Like so many of Almodóvar’s films, it’s also about memory and the dangerously self-serving act of telling stories. Storytelling, lying, and the eager trying on of selves have always been at the core of Almodóvar’s alarmingly literal demand for liberty...The most readily enjoyable of all art-house directors—a natural-born entertainer....He’s afraid of nothing, but he’s a generous, playful, warm-spirited director—the last great humanist in cinema.” --David Denby, The New Yorker

“Call me unrefined, but I have never been able to work up much enthusiasm for Almodóvar, whose stylized universe of queens, studs, and women on the verge strikes me as one of coyly overbearing faux outrage. So when I say that I genuinely enjoyed ‘Bad Education,’ Almodóvar's inflamed and dazzling new drama, I stress that this isn't coming from a typical Almodóvar fan. This time out, he has more or less abandoned his sense of comedy — and I say good riddance... It's a film noir that grows more potent as its secrets are revealed...I'm not sure if ‘Bad Education’ is Almodóvar's most personal film, but it's the one, at least to me, in which he has spoken most directly. It feels good to finally hear his voice.” --Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

“Gael García Bernal may be Mexico’s greatest export since Dolores Del Rio. Unquestionably, he’s the prettiest. ‘Y Tu Mamá También,’ ‘Amores Perros,’ ‘The Crime of Father Amaro’ and ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ made him as popular as margarita mix, but his sexy, brooding hothouse boyishness has never been as fully explored (and exploited) as it is in Pedro Almodóvar’s feverish, exotic and complex new film noir, ‘Bad Education.’ The combination is lush, lascivious and a cinematic lollapalooza...Prepare to be devastated.” --Rex Reed, The New York Observer

“Pedro Almodóvar has toyed with film noir before, most memorably in his 1997 film, ‘Live Flesh.’ But his newest movie, ‘Bad Education,’ is a delirious, headlong immersion and reinvention of a style that has lured countless filmmakers onto its treacherous shoals...Mr. Almodóvar fully understands the degree to which film noir is synonymous with fantasy and a primal longing for the forbidden. He believes in the passions bordering on obsessions that drive films noirs...Mr. García Bernal, who plays three interlocking roles, is a transcendent dramatic chameleon shuffling three faces: ambitious actor, drag temptress and ruthless hustler... ‘Bad Education’ is a voluptuous experience that invites you to gorge on its beauty and vitality.” --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“Quoting rather tiredly from ‘Vertigo’ (among other beloved wellsprings), Almodóvar's movie is as mad for its own structural semi-transparencies, folding over each other and then wispily disappearing, as it is for cabaret camp. But there's something dull and evasive at the film's center—for one thing, contrary to its festival buzz, ’Bad Education’ tiptoes around the issue of priesthood pedophilia; lovelorn gazes are as desperate as it gets... Hardly a social or even anti-clerical critique, the movie seems to blame the crimes of the present on the sins of the past, but the connections never get fleshed out.” --Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

"‘Bad Education’ is a darker Almodovar than was seen at work in his 2002 masterpiece ‘Talk to Her,’ or the breakthrough ‘All About My Mother’ (1999), but to call those films -- one featured the rape of a comatose woman, the other a pregnant nun -- more warmly redemptive than ‘Bad Education’ would sort of be missing the point. What ‘Bad Education’ is about -- besides pedophile priests, sex abuse, extortion, low transsexual hijinks and murder -- is art and the nature of reality. Like Hitchcock's ‘Vertigo,’ which resonates so strongly here, ‘Bad Education’ is about disguised identities, chosen realities and optional perceptions...Almodovar never stops maturing or losing his supreme mastery of the medium. The fact that he can use, and so flagrantly, such a variety of influences and still come up with something unmistakably his own is a sign of how in control he is.” --John Anderson, Newsday


“G
ael Garcia Bernal, the Mexican hunk who gave sizzle to ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien,’ is as sexy as a woman as he is as a man. No, he hasn't had a sex-change operation — but he does go drag for parts of Pedro Almodovar's sexathon ‘Bad Education’... ‘Bad Education’ owes much to Bernal, who stunningly portrays three distinct personalities.” --V.A. Musetto, The New York Post

“Almodóvar sure knows from flamboyance. He gets a lushly layered performance from Bernal, who can’t just float through these proceedings looking alluring, as he did in the pretty but flat ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’... ‘Bad Education’ may be at once too gimmicky and too sincere. But it still exerts an uncanny power: Like the best of Almodóvar’s work, it throws you a first-love sucker punch that will stagger your heart, mind, and soul.” --Ken Tucker, New York Magazine

“Pedro Almodovar doesn't just make movies. Almodovar is the movies. He revels in everything forbidden and forgiving that can transform life into art. ‘Bad Education’ is a rapturous masterwork. This story of two priest-abused boys who become lost men is also Almodovar's most personal film to date -- raw with his own feelings about sex, sin, the Catholic Church and the healing power of cinema...Garca Bernal, in and out of drag, gives a juicy, jolting performance far removed from his quiet intensity in ‘The Motorcycle Diaries.’ He is the corrupt soul of a mesmeric movie that offers temptations impossible to resist.” --Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“Some will say ‘Bad Education’ is Almodovar's take on pederasty within Spain's Catholic Church. But that is only one part of a movie that takes a compassionate view of men who would do anything for what they love...Almodovar can't resist humor, a gay sensibility, and his usual quirks and deceptive precision. He also displays an impressive new maturity.” -- Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News