Pain and Glory
Palace Nova Eastend
Antonio Banderas plays Film Director Salvador Mallo who in his later years reflects on his life and where he has ended up and how he is to continue. Mallo has been asked to do a Q and A for the film for a nostalgic screening of his most successful film but insists he will only do it if the lead actor Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia) also attends. During filming they had a fall out due to Crespo’s portrayal of the character and continued use of heroin throughout the film.
They eventually agree and reunite for the screening but once again have a fall out bringing up the disagreements of the past. They have a love hate relationship, but Crespo is desperate to revive his career and pleads with Mallo to give him a story to use for a theatre production. At first Mallo refuses but after some reflection gives him a deeply raw and personal autobiographical story.
Mallo is riddled with health issues and this plays a part in his reluctance and hesitation to continuing writing or directing. The film Pain and Glory takes you through a series of flashback giving you the history of how and where Mallo grew up, his first sexual attraction to a man and his relationship with his mother. In the flashbacks the wonderful Penelope Cruz plays his mother and the young Mallo (Asier Flores) also gives a touching performance.
Banderas is brilliant. He played the complex character of Mallo with such grace and sensitivity that at times you found yourself frustrated yet empathetic at the same time when he was in his self-destruction. Pain and Glory is just that. Pain and glory for complex characters with real life emotions and outcomes.