Bad Education (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Pedro Almodóvar|
|Produced by||Pedro Almodóvar
|Written by||Pedro Almodóvar|
|Starring||Gael García Bernal
Daniel Giménez Cacho
|Music by||Alberto Iglesias|
|Cinematography||Jose Luis Alcaine|
|Edited by||José Salcedo|
|Distributed by||Warner Sogefilms (Spain)
Sony Pictures Classics
Pathé International (France)
|Running time||105 minutes|
Bad Education (Spanish: La mala educación) is a 2004 Spanish drama film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Gael García Bernal, Fele Martínez, Daniel Giménez Cacho and Lluís Homar, the film focuses on two reunited childhood friends and lovers caught up in a stylised murder mystery. Along with metafiction, sexual abuse by Catholic priests, transsexuality and drug use are also important themes and devices in the plot, which led the MPAA to give the film an NC-17 rating.
The film was released on 19 March 2004 in Spain and 10 September 2004 in Mexico. It was also screened at many international film festivals such as Cannes, New York, Moscow and Toronto before its US release on November 19, 2004.
In Madrid in 1980, Enrique Goded, a young film director, is looking for his next project when he receives the unexpected visit of an actor looking for work. The actor claims to be Enrique's boarding school friend and first love, Ignacio Rodriguez. Ignacio, who is using now the name Ángel Andrade, has brought with him a short story titled "The Visit" hoping that Enrique would be interested in making a film out of it giving him the starring role. Enrique is intrigued since "The Visit" described their time together at the Catholic school and it also includes a fictionalized account of their reunion many years later as adults.
"The Visit" is set in 1977. It tells the story of a drag artist and transsexual called Zahara, whose name at birth is Ignacio. Zahara plans to rob a drunken admirer but discovers that the man is her boyhood lover Enrique. Next she visits her old school and confronts Father Manolo, who abused her when she was a boy. She demands one million pesetas from him in exchange for halting publication of her story "The Visit". The story is set in a Catholic boarding school for boys in 1964. At the school, Ignacio, a young boy with a beautiful singing voice, is the object of lust of Father Manolo, the school principal and literature teacher. Ignacio has found his first love and cinema in the company of Enrique, a classmate. One night Father Manolo discovers them together and threatens to expel Enrique. In an attempt to prevent this, Ignacio gives himself to Father Manolo. The priest molests Ignacio, but expels Enrique anyway.
Enrique wants to adapt Ignacio's story into a film, but Ángel's condition is that he plays the part of Zahara, the transsexual lead. Enrique remains skeptical, for he feels that the Ignacio whom he loved and the Ignacio of today are totally different people. He drives to Galicia to Ignacio's mother and learns that the real Ignacio has been dead for four years and that the man who came to his office is really Ignacio's younger brother, Juan.
Enrique's interest is piqued, and he decides to do the movie with Juan in the role of Ignacio to find out what drives Juan. Enrique and Ángel start a relationship, and Enrique revises the script so that it ends with Father Manolo, whom Ignacio was trying to blackmail to get money for sex reassignment surgery, having Ignacio murdered. When the scene is shot, Ángel breaks out in tears unexpectedly.
The movie set is visited by Manuel Berenguer, who is the real Father Manolo, who has resigned from Church duty. Berenguer confesses to Enrique that the new ending of the film is not far from the truth: the real Ignacio blackmailed Berenguer, who somehow managed to scratch together the money but also took an interest in Ignacio's younger brother, Juan. Juan and Manuel started a relationship and after a while realized they both wanted to see Ignacio dead. Juan scored some very pure heroin, so that his brother would die by overdose after shooting up. After the crime, the relationship disintegrates; Berenguer wants to continue the relationship with Juan, but Juan is uninterested. Berenguer claims that he will never let Juan go, and Juan threatens to kill him if Berenguer continues to pursue him. Berenguer attempts to blackmail Juan for his part in the murder of Ignacio.
Enrique is shocked and not at all interested in Juan's weak vindications for what he did to his brother. Finally, before he leaves, Juan gives Enrique a piece of paper: a letter to Enrique that Ignacio was in the middle of typing when he died.
In the epilogue, it is mentioned that Enrique releases his film later and achieves great success. Despite the grief and guilt of his brother, Juan also achieves success, but was later relegated to television work. Berenguer dies in a hit-and-run (caused by Juan and thus fulfilling his promise made earlier in the film).
- Gael García Bernal as Juan / Ángel / Zahara. García was required to display a convincing Castilian Spanish accent before being cast.
- Fele Martínez as Enrique Goded
- Daniel Giménez Cacho as Father Manolo
- Lluís Homar as Sr. Manuel Berenguer
- Javier Cámara as Paca/Paquito
- Petra Martínez as Mother
- Nacho Pérez as Young Ignacio
- Raúl García Forneiro as Young Enrique
- Francisco Boira as Ignacio
- Juan Fernández as Martín
- Alberto Ferreiro as Enrique Serrano
- Leonor Watling as Monica, wardrobe girl
According to Almodóvar, he worked on the screenplay for over ten years.
The film was released in Spain on 19 March 2004, and in the United States on 5 September 2004, to generally positive reviews.
It received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 88% out of 135 professional critics gave the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.5/10 and the critical consensus being: "A layered, wonderfully-acted, and passionate drama."
- De La Fuente, Anna Marie (4 November 2004). "Almodovar puts 'Education' to use". Variety. Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- "Bad Education (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- "Festival de Cannes: Bad Education". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
- Bad Education. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- Scott Tobias, "Foreign affairs," The Hollywood Reporter, 19 November 2004
- Official website
- Bad Education at the Internet Movie Database
- Bad Education at AllMovie
- Bad Education at Box Office Mojo
- Bad Education at Rotten Tomatoes
- Bad Education at Metacritic