‘In Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodóvar’s latest feature, there is a moment during a flashback scene that I distinctly recognised. A young boy sees a grown man naked for the first time. Eduardo (César Vincente) is a truly beautiful man, with delicate features and deep brown eyes, who has been helping the family fix up their new home and in return the ten-year-old Salvador (Asier Flores) teaches him to read and write. After finishing tiling the wall, Eduardo asks if he can bathe before he returns home. He cleans the paint and grout off his skin and washes his body using a small metal basin in the kitchen. The washing itself isn’t performative and it isn’t sexualised. There are no significant close-ups on any part of his body, but rather its presented in full, the entire image boldly taking up the screen. The moment comes when Salvador brings Eduardo a towel and his mouth drops open with awe, desire, and curiosity at the naked man in front of him.’
You can read the full essay here.