Pedro Almodóvar Criticism - Essay

Pedro Almodóvar with Marsha Kinder (interview date Fall 1987)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Pleasure and the New Spanish Mentality: A Conversation with Pedro Almodóvar," in Film Quarterly, Vol. XLI, No. 1, Fall, 1987, pp. 33-44.

[In the following interview, which was conducted on May 25, 1987, Almodóvar discusses his approach to filmmaking, the major themes of his films, and the place of his work in the context of Spanish film.]

Following the enthusiastic critical reception of Pedro Almodóvar's La Ley del Deseo (The Law of Desire) at this year's Berlin Film Festival, Spain's oldest and largest-circulation film journal, Fotogramas & Video, ran an editorial saying:

The recent Berlin Festival has...

(The entire section is 7529 words.)

Jeanne Silverthorne (essay date March 1990)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Onwards and Sideways: The Films of Pedro Almodóvar," in Artforum, Vol. XXVIII, No. 7, March, 1990, pp. 146-50.

[In the following excerpt, Silverthorne states that, "Almodóvar's world is a soup of tenses. His films simultaneously lock us in the past; celebrate our having come through, and wait for us to be born."]

… Almodóvar is very conscious of his cultural surround: a new Spain, only recently released from fascism. He has observed in interviews that the generations now taking over in the country are "unrelated" to earlier ones; however, although he is clearly presenting his vision of a polymorphously perverse post-Franco generation, it is not exactly...

(The entire section is 3329 words.)

Marvin D'Lugo (essay date 1991)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Almodóvar's City of Desire," in Quarterly Review of Film and Literature, Vol. 13, No. 4, 1991, pp. 47-65.

[In the following essay, D'Lugo discusses the image of Madrid and Spain's past and present in Almodóvar's films.]

History and Desire

Madrid has figured prominently in Pedro Almodóvar's cinema, gradually coming into focus as the implicit protagonist of nearly every work. In these films, the city is regularly imaged as a cultural force, producing forms of expression and action that challenge traditional values by tearing down and rebuilding the moral institutions of Spanish life: the family, the Church, and the law.


(The entire section is 8533 words.)

Kathleen M. Vernon (essay date Spring 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Melodrama Against Itself: Pedro Almodóvar's What Have I Done to Deserve This?" in Film Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 3, Spring, 1993, pp. 28-40.

[In the following essay, Vernon analyzes the influence of American film melodrama on Almodóvar's work.]

Central to what might be called the purposeful eclecticism of Pedro Almodóvar's cinematic universe is the model of American film melodrama, a source which the Spanish director has appropriated to notably effective and often unexpected ends. Indeed, the presence of American film culture is palpable throughout his work, from the photographs of Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor among the "greatest sinners of the...

(The entire section is 5178 words.)

Peter Evans (essay date July 1993)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Almodóvar's Matador: Genre, Subjectivity and Desire," in Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Vol. LXX, No. 3, July, 1993, pp. 325-35.

[In the following essay, Evans analyzes how Almodóvar reworks the genre of the Hollywood melodrama and explores the issues of identity and desire in post-Franco Spain in Matador.]

1 Introduction: The Lawless Breed

Souvent, nous parlons du monde, de l'humanité, comme s'il avait quelque unité: en fait, l'humanité compose des mondes, voisins selon l'apparence mais en vérité étrangers l'un á l'autre … Le plus frappant est qu'en chacun des mondes auxquels je fais...

(The entire section is 5239 words.)

Paul Julian Smith (essay date January 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Future Chic," in Sight and Sound, Vol. 4, No. 1, January, 1994, pp. 6-10.

[In the following essay, Smith argues that although Kika is "Gloriously shot, beautifully dressed and skillfully acted," the film "is poorly plotted and characterized, its rogues' gallery of grotesques provoking little of the audience identification that Almodóvar was clearly hoping for."]

It promises to be a cold winter in Madrid. As the long hang-over from the Olympic annus mirabilis of 1992 drags on, Spain is facing up to record unemployment, continuing political scandal, and mounting concern over the intrusions of the newly deregulated media. In a mirror image of the...

(The entire section is 2370 words.)

Florence Redding Jessup (essay date 1994)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown: Sexism or Emancipation from Machismo?" in Look Who's Laughing: Gender and Comedy, edited by Gail Finney, Gordon and Breach, 1994, pp. 299-314.

[In the following essay, Redding Jessup asserts that "If the ending convincingly sums up Pedro Almodóvar's gender messages in this film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is a story about emancipation from machismo."]

Introduction: May We Laugh?

Is Pedro Almodóvar's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown a sexist comedy about hysterical women or a story of liberation from machismo? Should our nerves jangle with...

(The entire section is 7214 words.)

Brad Epps (essay date 1995)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Figuring Hysteria: Disorder and Desire in Three Films of Pedro Almodóvar," in Post-Franco, Postmodern: The Films of Pedro Almodóvar, edited by Kathleen M. Vernon and Barbara Morris, Greenwood Press, 1995, pp. 99-124.

[In the following essay, Epps discusses the use of hysteria in Almodóvar's Labyrinth of Passions, What Have I Done to Deserve This? and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.]

There is something at once mad and methodical about Pedro Almodóvar's films. Frenetic, effervescent, wild, and rapturous, they are also willful, deliberate, and self-conscious. They focus on dispersion, center on marginality, and concentrate on excess. They...

(The entire section is 11026 words.)

Pedro Almodóvar with Paul Julian Smith (interview date February 1996)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Almodóvar and the Tin Can," in Sight and Sound, Vol. 6, No. 2, February, 1996, pp. 24-7.

[In the following interview, Almodóvar discusses his latest film The Flower of My Secret, his cinematic process, and Spanish politics.]

[Smith:] You've told the Spanish press that The Flower of My Secret is your most La Manchan and most traditional film. But it strikes me that, with its references to NATO and Bosnia, to the newspaper El País and to Prime Minister Felipe González, this is your most European and most contemporary film.

[Almodóvar:] When I say the film's La Manchan I mean it's my most realistic film yet. Of...

(The entire section is 2610 words.)