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Madrid, 1980: Enrique Goded, a young director of twenty-seven who, despite his youth, has already directed three successful films, is looking through the news in the tabloids for a story for his fourth film. (One item in particular attracts his attention and he cuts it out: "In a zoo in Taiwan, a woman threw herself into a pool full of crocodiles at a time when there was the greatest number of visitors. While the crocodiles were devouring her, the woman hugged one of them without making a sound.") The doorbell rings. The visitor is an attractive young man with a beard who says he is his old school friend, Ignacio Rodríguez. Enrique remembers his school friend perfectly, but he doesn’t recognize any of his features in the young visitor. But it’s also true that they haven’t seen each other for sixteen years. Enrique doesn’t know it yet, but the search for the story for his next film is in front of him, smiling and holding out his hand. In their school days, Ignacio had a literary vocation, but he gradually gave it up for that of acting. In any case, he has brought a short story called "The Visit." He gives it to Enrique in case it might interest him. The story was inspired by their childhood in the school, their problems with the priests, in particular with the Principal, the repression, the soccer games, the hypocrisy, the distortion of the spirit, the harassment, the masses sung in Latin by Ignacio who was the soloist in the choir, etc. It also tells, in parallel, of an essential discovery for the two kids - the cinema: Sara Montiel, "Hercules," "Breakfast at Tiffany’s," "Moon River," "Johnny Guitar," etc. The imagination of Ignacio-author has the three characters – himself, Enrique, and the Principal – meet (in the short story) years later, when they are adults. Enrique, although still young, has become a frustrated family man in the provinces, Father Manolo has left the congregation, and Ignacio has become Zahara. Zahara is a drug addict transvestite who impersonates Sara Montiel (a sort of Spanish Mae West Gay icon of the '60s and '70s) and is a member of a fifth-rate variety company. The story is told from Zahara’s point of view on the night she performs in a Casino in the same city where Enrique and he went to school. The encounter between the three characters, in the short story, ends tragically. Enrique Goded reads "The Visit" with great interest. He is moved by the first part, which deals with their childhood, in particular, his love story with Ignacio, which was broken up by Father Manolo. In love with Ignacio, Father Manolo expelled Enrique from the school so as not to have to compete with him. The second part, when Ignacio (who has now become Zahara) visits the school disconcerts him, but it also interests him. He decides to adapt "The Visit" and make it into a film. When he tells Ignacio (who insists that Enrique call him by his current stage name Ángel Andrade), the latter explodes with joy. He only imposes one condition, that he acts in the film. Enrique doesn’t mind, but when Ignacio (Ángel) asks to play the lead, that is, the transvestite Zahara, Enrique tells him that he isn’t right for the character (neither does he understand the request). He is too masculine, too well built, physically he is just the opposite to a character like Zahara. Ignacio (Ángel) insists, and asks Enrique to trust him. Enrique replies that he finds it very hard to trust him, and they end up having a violent argument. Ignacio (Ángel) goes off, saying that if he doesn’t play Zahara there won’t be any film. In the days following the argument, Enrique can’t get the mysterious visitor out of his mind. He investigates - after all that’s one of the storyteller’s jobs, investigating his characters in depth in order to understand them better and tell them better – and discovers that the attractive boy who came to ask for work is not Ignacio Rodríguez but an impostor who had access to the real Ignacio. He also discovers that the real Ignacio died three years earlier, shortly after writing "The Visit." The shock of the discovery increases when, a few days later, Ángel Andrade (the false Ignacio) visits him again. He has shaved his beard and slimmed down a little. Enrique thinks he has come to apologize and to explain everything, but it isn’t so. The false Ignacio apologizes for the violent argument they had the last time they met, and offers Enrique the rights of "The Visit" to make a film of it, without imposing any conditions. Enrique doesn’t say a word about Ignacio or mention his imposture at any time. He only asks to be allowed to audition for the role of Zahara. (Enrique listens to him in astonishment). As he can see, Ángel has already slimmed down and he has also started working in a gay bar in order to learn how to be a "queen." Ángel is also receiving private lessons from Sandra, a transvestite who specializes in impersonating Sara Montiel. Enrique auditions him, gives him the part and makes him his lover. He wants to know the impostor’s reasons and how far he will go with his imposture, and he wants to know how Ignacio, his old school friend, died. He doesn’t care what price he has to pay for the adventure. Long months of preparation go by. The first day of shooting on "The Visit" arrives, and so does the last one. Enrique penetrates Ángel Andrade frequently, but only physically. He doesn’t manage to discover anything about Ignacio’s death and Angel’s mystery remains intact. But on the last day someone visits the set and hides behind the crew in order to see without being seen. When Enrique goes back to his office to gather up his things, he catches the mysterious stranger in there, rummaging through photos from the shoot. The visitor calls himself by his last name, Mr. Berenguer, but Enrique recognizes Father Manolo, dressed in civilian clothes and seventeen years older than the last time he saw him, the day he expelled him from the school. Now it is Enrique who expels him from his office. But Mr. Berenguer remains motionless and asks him: "Don’t you want to know how Ignacio died and who killed him? Wouldn’t you like to know the identity of Ángel Andrade, the actor in your film?" Driven by the same suicidal curiosity that led him to work with Ángel Andrade while knowing he was an impostor, Enrique lets Father Manolo tell him the true story of Ignacio-adult and as he listens he feels like the woman who threw herself into the pool of crocodiles and hugged them while they ate her.

Film Info

(2013)
0 min 36 sec Duration
28,911 views
  • Posted: April 01, 2009
  • Director: Pedro Almodóvar
  • Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
  • Release: September 5, 2004
  • Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Fele Martinez, Daniel Giménez Cacho

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No music available

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