Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 


A young pizza delivery man, Victor (Liberto Rabal) is trying to seduce the beautiful but feisty Elena (Francesca Neri), whom he met a few days ago in a nightclub and with whom he had a fumbled quickie in the toilet. But she was drunk then and doesn’t want to know about him now. Elena is expecting her drug delivery man, and wants Victor out, but he wants to stay, so there is a scene. A neighbour reports the ruckus and two cops, young David (Javier Bardem) and older Sancho (Jose Sancho), arrive. With everyone edgy, the situation gets heated and Elena’s gun (her father’s) goes off … David is hit. Four years later David is wheelchair-bound but the star of a disabled basketball team, married to Elena. Victor is released from prison and seeks to redress the wrong he feels has been done. But his need for revenge is overtaken by his love for Elena, something he can’t have. At the same time, Sancho’s marriage disintegrates and his wife – once David’s lover – brings all their destinies together with great finality.

Review by Louise Keller:
Colours explode and appear brighter and richer in Pedro Almodóvar’s films: Live Flesh is no exception, with all the ingredients that we have learned to anticipate from this extraordinary filmmaker - drama with a hint of comedy and a large dose of the sensuous. The cinematography caresses, lingers and flows with the fluidity of motion while the mix of music is dramatic, paradoxical and poetic. The characters are beautifully drawn, and although the action takes place over 26 years, the story flows like a river with a purpose, each character naturally fitting into the jigsaw. 

Almodóvar’s story captures all the complexities, ironies and coincidences of life with characters ripe with colour, vulnerabilities and human foibles exposed. And no-one is innocent in this tale of infidelity and its consequences. The entire cast is superb - Javier Bardem, magnificent as David, whose passions lie deep beneath the surface; Francesca Neri, enigmatic as Elena and Liberto Rabal reminding me a little of a young Antonio Banderas - replete with fire and fight. 

Vibrant and evocative, Live Flesh is a delicious story of lust, obsession, envy, revenge and love - one that will transport you deep into the exotic world of the extraordinary Almodóvar.

Published June 26, 2003

Email this article



Carné Tremula

CAST: Liberio Rabal, Javier Bardem, Francesca Neri, Angela Molina, Jose Sancho

DIRECTOR: Pedro Almodóvar

SCRIPT: Pedro Almodóvar (Based on the novel by Ruth Rendell)

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes




DVD RELEASE: June 18, 2003

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020