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Getting On : Pop Culture

Almodóvar Films

from Prisma - Saturday, April 12, 2003
accessed 1448 times

I’ve been a huge fan of the great director and screenwriter Pedro Almodóvar ever since I saw ‘All about My Mother’ for the first time in theaters a few years back.

I’m not quite sure why I love his films so much but there is something quite amazing and unique about each of these neurotic, psychotic and exceptionally brilliant artistic films. Pedro Almodóvar spins out enough frenetic material for four normal movies in a single film that is always a penetrating satire. With topics ranging from motherhood to human desire and destiny and characters ranging from serial killers to psychotic stalkers to female bullfighters and drag queens, the usually sexy and completely insane works of art compel a type of audience (like myself) who appreciates films that are quite the opposite of the many U.S. produced box-office failures.
So far the films I have seen (and loved all of them) are:

 Talk to her (2002)
All about My Mother (1999)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Live Flesh (1998)
Kika (1994)
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)

‘All about My Mother’ is my favorite (so far) as it combines drama, tragedy, drag queens and comedy into complete and utter weirdness; this produces a wide array of unusual characters and a collection of miss-fits that somehow manage to live in our society. These characters appear distinctive, infuriating, and incomprehensible yet fascinating at the same time.

Every time I’m about to watch an Almodóvar film I know it will be completely unscripted and exclusively strange. The Amphetamine of the decade has made its way into my living room and I am genuinely addicted to these films.

Despite my recent exclusiveness to Almodóvar films (especially as of late), I also enjoy a wide range of other film genres. I would however, be interested in seeing comments from those that have watched and enjoyed Almodóvar films. 

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from Anthony
Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 22:54


Belle Epoque



Spain, 1992

Cast: Jorge Sanz, Fernando Fernan Gomez, Penelope Cruz, Maribel Verdu, Ariadna Gil, Miriam Diaz-Aroca
Director: Fernando Trueba
Producer: Fernando Trueba
Screenplay: Rafael Azcona
Cinematography: José Luis Alcaine
Music: Antoine Duhamel
U.S. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
In Spanish with subtitles


No, I’m not a Penelope Cruz fan, she just happens to be in some very good films, and a very good film this was.  It’s the story of young deserter who befriends an old painter and matriarch of sorts in Spain, circa 1931.  I  actually enjoyed this film and its great story telling.


"Belle Epoque is the story of Paradise: too good to last. It's about the discovery of life, but the real one, I mean: freedom, art, love, sex, friendship...all the things that make life interesting. It's an oasis... Maybe it's too idealistic, but I always thought one of the reasons for cinema was to give pleasure and happiness to the audience. I don't want to make people think about how miserable life is. I prefer to leave that for tomorrow. I like to hear the audience laughing in a dark theater. That's the best music for me."

- Fernando Trueba, director/producer of Belle Epoque


(reply to this comment)
from Anthony
Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 14:21


Jamon Jamon:


Spain, 1992 

Cast: Penelope Cruz, Anna Galiena, Javier Bardem, Stefania Sandrelli, Juan Diego
Director: Bigas Luna
Producer: Andres Vicente Gomez
Screenplay: Cuca Canals and Bigas Luna
Cinematography: José Luis Alcaine
Music: Nicola Piovani
U.S. Distributor: Academy Entertainment
In Spanish with subtitles


This is another great Spanish film, which I saw for he first time last night.  Penelope Cruz goes topless more than half of her screen time, I don’t care for her acting or persona, however her fans may enjoy this; yet, I wonder if she rather her fans didn’t see her like this, LOL!  At one point, while her boyfriend is “nursing”, she asks him “why do you like eating my breast.. Do they taste like potato omelets?”

Of course, this was before she began her American film career, which seems to have gone to her breasts… I mean, her head – whatever!





(reply to this comment)
from Joe H
Monday, April 14, 2003 - 19:46


I am also a big fan of Almodovar and of Spanish cinema in general.  I particularly enjoyed Live FleshKika was a little dumb, I thought, but I appreciated the weirdness. 

I'm also a huge fan of Amenábar, who wrote and directed The Others and Open Your Eyes, which is one of my favorite films.  I liked it more than the American remake Vanilla Sky, perhaps for the simple reason that Penelope was younger and chubbier. 

Dia de la bestia and Boca a boca are also really good.

(reply to this comment)
from Anthony
Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 15:43

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I also am a huge fan of Mr. Almodovar and enjoy his films.  He is quiet possibly , in my opinion, Spain's best contribution to the art community since Picasso.  This man is a writer, director, composer, producer, and an actor, from La Mancha, Spain.  But unlike Don Quixote, Pedro's adventures in filmmaking are no failure, as he very successfully blends fantasy and reality in his films, while not losing his audience.

Here are a few more to add to your list. I particularly liked Matador, starring a much younger Antonio Banderas.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) 

The  Law of Desire (1987)  

Matador (1985)

Labyrinth of Passion  (1982)

Dark Habits (1983)

(reply to this comment)
From Prisma
Saturday, June 14, 2003, 14:17


Well, I saw Matador recently and so far that is my least favorite of this films, a bit too gross, gruesome and morbid for me. The images within the first 15 minutes were enough to make me think I walked into the wrong theater. I appreciated the boldness and the general synopsis but I personally prefer more drama and comedy then the darker pieces of his works.

(reply to this comment
From Prisma
Sunday, April 13, 2003, 16:48

Do you have a favorite? (reply to this comment
From Anthony
Sunday, April 13, 2003, 16:56

That's a hard one.  I haven't seen a few from your list yet; so I guess I'll be able to better decide after that.  Matador was so over the top, it may be close to the top on my list.  Dark Habits is the origin of Sister Act, whith Whoopi goldberg, but so very much better.(reply to this comment

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