"The Lovers' Empire (El Imperio De Los Amantes)"
Written & Directed by PEDRO ALMODOVAR
Produced by PEDRO & AGUSTIN ALMODOVAR
Music by ALBERTO IGLESIAS
MARIBEL VERDU as Lola (the sorrowful and vengeful lover)
ANTONIO BANDERAS as Octavio (the jealous murderer)
SERGI LOPEZ as Eduardo (the dedicated police officer)
JAVIER BARDEM as Javier (the vengeful brother)
EDUARD NORIEGA as Jose (the murdered lover)
Tagline: "Love, jealousy and vengeance are the elements of passionate crimes"
Synopsis: Lola is a Madrid woman who has left behind her troubled past with Octavio, her once abusive former lover, who has been doing time in jail. She is now happy and living with Jose, a man she truly loves and hopes to soon marry. When Octavio is released from prison, he has one objective, find Lola and be with her once again. Upon coming to her apartment, he discovers she has moved on and is living happily with a new man. She lets him know that their relationship is a thing of the past and that he should move on as she has. He surprisingly shows acceptance and even gives advice to Jose, telling him "to never let go of a good woman." This does not last for long, as the next night, he returns and a fight brews between the two men, leaving Jose dead after being shot with his own gun. Octavio quickly escapes and no evidence is left of his guilt. Everything points to the conclusion that Octavio acted in self defense against a perpetrating Jose. He is permitted to walk free.
A grieving Lola has come to a conclusion that in order to be at peace with her situation, Octavio must die for what he has done. She calls upon Jose's brother Javier, an ex-felon who also wants Octavio dead for his crime. Also in the picture is Eduardo, a dedicated Madrid police officer who believes Octavio is guilty of murder based on his abusive past toward Lola. He will do everything he can to help her, and is oblivious to the plan against Octavio. What develops is a web of vengeance and murder. The closer each individual gets to their goal, the deeper the web becomes. Eduardo and Javier are both falling for Lola. As they become aware of each other's motives, they show willingness to kill each other to be with her, even though things may not fully be what they seem. Lola may not the be as victimized and innocent as she appears to be. New developments are learned involving Jose's personal wealth, Lola's suspicious activities toward gaining access to it, and her secret fascination for masochism and abuse.
In the end, we learn that Lola and Octavio conspired together to kill Jose, and make away with his fortunes. Lola's greed brought in Javier to murder Octavio and derive attention to his crime. Eduardo's infatuation derived him away from any suspicions of the clever scheme. The finale sees a standoff between Eduardo, Octavio and Javier as Lola is present. Octavio kills Eduardo, leaving Octavio and Javier face to face with guns pointed at each other. Octavio is then killed by Javier. Lola, now looking at Javier with a gun in her hand, reveals the truth to him and tells him that she does not love him and never will. We then fade to a black screen and hear a gunshot.
What the Press would say:"Pedro Almodovar has always been one of Spain's finest filmmakers, an icon and a master of artistic vision. With "Amantes," he has created another masterpiece. One of his darkest, deepest and sexiest thrillers to date. Every twist and turn keeps you on the edge of your seat until the shocking conclusion. The character work is among the best he has written in his career. Keeping true to stories about the lives of women. this may easily be his best work since Talk To Her. A dark and stylish thriller in the tradition of classic noir films."
"Maribel Verdu has played the most complex and intriguing character of her acting career. A testament to why she is one of Spain's finest actresses. She never allows her character to divert away from her motive. the all-around cast here does a very talented job. Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem are truly fantastic. Each playing different characters, yet both carrying their vengeful and villainous traits. The themes of vengeance, greed and passion flourish here with such great character work.
"Almodovar's directing and screenplay are terrific. The use of vibrant color and stylish camera work shines beautifully here to create one unique viewing experience all around. Alberto Iglesias' score is also beautifully excellent in the tradition of all his work with Almodovar."
BEST PICTURE (Drama)
BEST DIRECTOR- Pedro Almodovar
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY- Pedro Almodovar
BEST ACTRESS- Maribel Verdu
BEST ACTOR- Antonio Banderas
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR- Javier Bardem
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE