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Broken Embraces resource

actress in platinum blonde bob wig and black evening dress stares at her reflection in the mirror, reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe medium shot of actress with her dark hair tied back, eyebrows raised and looking left, drinking delicately from a teacup with one finger crooked

Film Style

Operating as both a key plot device and a visual motif, the process of filmmaking is an essential element of Broken Embraces. From the very first shots, where two lighting doubles stand in for the actors during the set-up, this film references the creative art of film production and draws the audience’s attention to the film as a construct. A large portion of the narrative centres on the making of Mateo’s film ‘Girls and Suitcases’ with the business of film informing the relationships between characters and providing the context for exaggerated narrative developments and melodramatic encounters.


  1. ‘Broken Embraces is a drama with very dark touches, more like a 50s thriller.’ How far would you agree with this interpretation of the film? Consider where you think these ‘dark touches’ occur making reference to what you see and hear.
  2. What references does Mateo draw on to produce the character he wants Lena to play? Think about key scenes and aspects of mise-en-scène which help to convey this onscreen. Use the images opposite as a starting point.
  3. How does the ‘real life’ of the characters intrude on Mateo’s vision for his film?

For tasks that begin to consider Almodóvar as an auteur go to this worksheet.