Bad Education

Directed and Written by Pedro Almodóvar
Showing at FACT until June 4th

Reviewed by Darren Guy

Well what can I say? Almodóvar films get better and better all the time.

Bad education is the perfect title for a film that deals with the effects of what a bad education can do to people.

Set in the 1980s, a gay film director, Enrique Goded (Fele Martínez), is searching for a new story, when ‘wham’ arriving at his office is ‘Ignacio’ claiming to be an old schoolfriend who he has not seen for 16 years. Ignacio (played by Gael García Bernal from Amores Perros and Y tu mamá también) is not only looking for work as an actor but has written a story, ‘The Visit’, based in the catholic boarding school where he and Enrique became close friends, until Enrique was expelled, when the paedophile teacher Father Manolo realizes he knows what he’s getting up to with Ignacio. This story then becomes the filmmaker’s latest project.

As the filmmaker develops his film inside the film, we are taken through a series of flashbacks, not quite sure which is the story and which is reality. We are taken through the intimacy of two young boys and their innocent homoerotic adventures and then the life Ignacio believed Enrique would take after his expulsion, when they lost touch with each other. From childhood summers and innocence, to the hypocrisy and sinister world of the paedophile priests. Not surprisingly, in Spain, a deeply catholic country, the film received criticism. But Almodóvar, getting more real with each film and never someone to be intimidated would have envisaged that.

Like other Almodóvar films, the characters are never one dimensional, they are incredibly real; happy, sad, funny and tragic. The bad guys are never completely bad and the beaten, the abused, the desperate are the heroes of the film. Almodóvar‘s portrayal of transvestite’s are fantastically real.

All the most memorable films are rooted in reality; the British film industry could learn a lot from Almodóvar. ‘Bad Education’ is one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year – you must see it.