Film director Enrique (Fele Martínez) is visited by a man claiming to be Ignacio (Gael García Bernal), his first love. He pitches an idea based on their affair, which began in Catholic school and was exploited by a corrupt priest. Moving between past and present, fact and fiction, their story plays out.
All About My Father is an apt subtitle for Almodóvar's powerful and passionate semi-autobiographical story, the first Spanish film to open the Cannes Film Festival. He spent a decade developing it, resulting in a rich melodrama of moral corrosion.
As with Matador (1986), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989) and Talk to Her (2002), the director's compassion is striking. Deviance is never judged, giving audience and actors free interpretation.
Bernal stands out. Sight & Sound commented that he, 'displays an emotional dexterity to match his frequent Gaultier-designed costume changes.'
José Luis Alcaine's deep-focus photography and Antxón Gómez's art design are two further reasons to watch.
In France, trailers for the film ran alongside those for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004).