Middle-aged film director Salvador Mallo (Banderas) is in a physical and creative slump. A gala screening of his 32 year old masterwork “Sabor” takes him on journey of memory and rediscovery. He reconnects with the actor who appeared in the film and they smoke heroin together. His thoughts turn back to his country childhood and the warmth of his mother (Cruz), and to a young workman who paints his picture without his knowledge.
Banderas, working with Almodovar for the eighth time, earned himself an Oscar nomination playing a nuanced version of the director himself with understated ease. Almodovar forgoes the kitschy melodrama of his overt comedies for a more plaintive tone about loss, regret and artistry. Bathed in soft light, the flashbacks are emotionally evocative with frequent collaborator Cruz a perfect maternal figure. Almodovar’s deeply personal opus is a paean to the creative power of memory and rejuvenation.