Thursday, 17 May 2007

Film: Bad Education

Lowdown: Brokeback Mountain, the adults' version.
Bad Education is the second of the Spaniard's Almodovar films that I get to review here, and like the rest of his films this one is also trying to deeply explore femininity. However, the way Bad Education goes on in its exploration is quite unique as there are absolutely no key female roles here; there are hardly any women in the film throughout. Instead the film is dominated by gays and transvestites, as if Almodovar chose to explore the womanly side of man.
The film starts by telling the story of a young guy who meets up with a friend of his that became a famous movie director in order to offer him a script he wrote and get an acting role in the film that will be based on that script. The two are gay; in fact, through "flashbacks" taken of the proposed script we learn they first explored their tendencies when they were in a Catholic school together as kids. We then learn of the things that went on at the school - mainly the pedophilia and the sexual acts taking place between the headmaster and the kids. And while this affair is explored, a series of plot twists are revealed in a way that robs attention away from sexual crimes related issues.
By the time the film has ended I ended up feeling confused. What was the film trying to say? It wasn't just simply trying to tell a story on pedophilia and what it does to its victims. Sure, that was there, but it didn't feel like the main event. It did tell stories on gay love affairs, but again - that wasn't the main event. It feels as though the main event was to do with the plot twists exposing the sexual identities of the characters, but then that has left me dumbfounded because I was not able to see the point there.
So no, I didn't like Bad Education and I didn't think it was a good film. I will mostly remember it for its single gender-ness and for the very explicit gay sex scenes it features, scenes that make Brokeback Mountain feel like a kids' film. Not that there's anything wrong with that; I think it's about time films show us such stuff instead of wrapping themselves in sterility. It is of no wonder that films that dare to go that far come from places like Spain as opposed to places like the USA where the box office has to do the talking.
Best scene: A guy falls asleep while another guy is giving him a blow job. Take that, Hollywood!
Overall: It's daring but it's not a good film. 2 stars out of 5.

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