The Almodóvar Effect: Has This Ever Happened To You?

Something strange, unfamiliar, and most wonderful happened to me the other week. I was at the Castro Theater watching Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk To Her when tears began to trickle down my cheek. Sure, I’ve cried at films before, many of us have, but never has the culmination of lighting, sound, acting, color, costume, framing, casting, make-up, etc., all united in such a way as to move me to tears.

These tears had nothing to do with the plot or any investment I had with any of the characters. These were tears of awe from the way in which a scene was filmed. Yes, I was crying over the actual filmmaking.

I have heard of people crying in awe of paintings or sculptures before, but from a movie?  And what’s even more astonishing about the entire episode is that none of the film techniques in this particular scene were new to me.  The part of the movie I am referring to that engulfed my soul with tear-worthy emotion was a slow motion bull fighting scene.  Surely, this had nothing to do with me dressing up as a Matador last week for work… or did it?

Usually my tears are reserved for sports films, or anything remotely decent involving a father and son relationship, no matter how cheesy the premise, or how corny the writing is.  Crying over a film’s technical aspect is entirely new to me.  Am I alone?  Has anyone else ever cried from a scene in a film based solely on how it was shot? Check out a trailer, but keep in mind that I saw this film projected on the enormous Castro screen while sitting in the third row.

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