Pedro AlmodóvarSpain106 minutes2004ColourSpanish
Gael García Bernal stars in this film noir à la Almodóvar, which brought back a taste of the director's delicious disreputability following his enshrinement as a respectable, Oscar-winning art-house auteur.
A film noir à la Almodóvar, Bad Education brought back a taste of the director's delicious disreputability following his enshrinement as a respectable, Oscar-winning art-house auteur. The labyrinthine story begins in 1980, as a wannabe actor using the name Ángel approaches upstart director Enrique (Fele Martinez) to peddle a script called The Visit, which relates the (true?) tale of two boys named Ignacio and Enrique who fall in love with each other while attending an all-boys Catholic school in 1964. Intertwining these two narratives and timeframes, Almodóvar then adds another focused on transgendered avenger Zahara (Gael García Bernal), who in 1977 returns to the school threatening to blackmail the priest who had molested Ignacio. At the time of its release, the film's controversial subject matter and treatment of its variously damaged characters — including the sinning priest, whom Almodóvar portrays as a man of great weakness rather than outright evil — rather overshadowed the fact that Bad Education is wicked fun, a delirious tangle of narrative twists and turns, bending identities, shifting sympathies and metafictional blurrings.