Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Works Of Pedro Almodovar Film Studies Essay

The Works Of Pedro Almodovar Film Studies Essay Pedro Almodà ³var, the Spanish film-maker, has always been considered in Hollywood to be a womans director (Maddison 2000). This definition actually connoted latent homosexuality and female-identified melodrama. However, this characteristic of Almodà ³vars works seems a little bit superfluous, as his films are best known for the mixture of reality and fiction, extraordinary messages and unique plots. Fiction and reality go together in the films by Pedro Almodà ³var. Sometimes it is next to impossible to differentiate between them, to decide what comes from real life and what was the play of directors imagination. One thing is true for sure: all films by Pedro Almodà ³var are united by the same central issue: the question of identity (Marsh 2006). He engages this issue in many different ways from the earliest work Pepi, Luci, Bom y las otras chicas del montà ³n (1980) to his most recent film Volver (Return) (2006). This is a key feature of Pedro Almodà ³var and it is consistently depicted through the motif of writing. He writes reality into existence and thereby changes it through fiction. Thus, the film-maker interrogates all forms of subject formation and subjectivity. The films of Pedro Almodà ³var abound in characters who adopt multiple pseudonyms, the repeated images of typewriters, the information transmitted through found notes, the eerie presence of ghostwriters (Mars h 2006). The film All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre (1999)) is one of the best examples of interrelation of reality and fiction. The subject of the film is the definition of sexual identity. This point is a very important one, as Pedro Almodà ³var never introduces exclusively homosexual or heterosexual characters. On the contrary, the characters of the film perform their identities and so it is next to impossible to define what identity will be chosen by them at any moment. This point is present not only in All About My Mother, but in many other works of Pedro Almodà ³var (such as in his earlier work La Ley Deseo (1986), for example). Pedro Almodà ³var subverts identity through the human body. The director rejects the idea that a persons identity, his or her essence is contained in one single organ, such as heart, for instance. On the contrary, the combination of physical appearance alongside with inner content defines a certain gender of any person. Thus, Pedro Almodà ³var introduces a rather ironic scene when Agrado, the transsexual character of the film, delivers a rather comic and in the same time frank confession, giving all the details of the operations with her body that lead to her present feminine gender. Pedro Almodà ³var rather boldly undermines the Christian learning that presents human body as an inviolable and essential representation of being. The film-maker goes further and subverts identity. He proposes the body as a site of imitation. According to Pedro Almodà ³var (2010) the main topics of his film All About My Mother include womans ability to pretend, wounded motherhood and the spontaneous solidarity among women (Almodà ³var 2010). Although the film is a fiction, Manuelas reality is very grim and harsh. All her life she has to run away. First, she runs away from Barcelona to Madrid, carrying a son inside her. She runs away from her sons (Esteban) father. Eighteen years later Manuela has to run again in the opposite direction. Her son died and she returns to Barcelona to find his father and to tell him about the short life of the son he never knew about. She wants to leave Madrid, the city where Estebans life started and ended so quickly. Manuelas feelings are in confusion. Barcelona is the city of Estebans father. Madrid is Estebans city. Manuelas emotions are difficult to understand as she cannot sort them out herself. For her both these cities are incompatible and irreconcilable. When Esteban asked her about his father she always tried to change the subject of the conversation. She had a reason, as his father decided to take a feminine form and everybody called him Lola. Seventeen years she kept silent and at last Manuela promised to tell her son about his father on his birthday that happened to be Estebans last day. Esteban did not know his father. What appears to be reality for Manuela results in fiction for Esteban. Manuela runs away once more. It is Barcelona Madrid direction again; besides she is again with Esteban, a baby whose father is also Lola. It is rather symbolic. Manuela feels something like revival. She has a son to take care of, his name is Esteban and she is the only person left in this world to dedicate herself to this new life. Manuela realizes that her life is really extraordinary. She does not even comprehend herself sometimes what is true and what is not in her life; she herself cannot differentiate the boundaries between reality and fiction, because everything i s so real and so unusual in her life. She also realizes that she could be an actress if she wanted, as she sees in herself the ability to change and pretend. All About My Mother implies the ideas of female identification and introduce the concept of heterosocial bonds as a way of understanding the structures of knowledge (Maddison 2000). In fact, Manuela, the main character of the film, pushes herself to form alternative bonds between herself and other women in order to adjust to the difficulties caused by men in her life. It seems very clear that All About My Mother is a film with which Pedro Almodà ³var offers and extraordinary degree of female identification. This film has an emotionally intense, somber quality (Maddison 2000). The death of Esteban, Manuelas only son, catalyses the narration of the film. Besides, it nearly separates the political and emotional idea of motherhood from the performance of this role in the family. Almodà ³var presents female bonding that eliminates mens control and influence in the family. So, he points out that femininity is not the sole realm of women; nor is gender oppression the sole experience of wo men (Maddison 2000). The boundaries between real life and fiction are often blurred in the films by Pedro Almodà ³var. That is one of the reasons why his films are so popular, unique and extraordinary. No one can dispute this fact nevertheless he likes or dislikes Pedro Almodà ³vars works. That can be considered one of the distinguishing features of Almodà ³vars films. He mentions in one of his interviews (Almodà ³var 2006) that reality and fiction are sometimes absolutely fused in his films. All films by Pedro Almodà ³var can be characterized as a mixture of images and sounds, genres, changing genders and characters, actors and motifs. The director characterized that with the term collage (Rosen 2006). These collages create endless chains of echoes and reflections between fiction and reality. In his interview about his film Volver Pedro Almodà ³var says: The best way to tell a fiction (at least in my case) is to dress it with reality. Reality and fiction come together without confusion (2010).The film-maker claims that he can then hold the direct conversation with the film he is making. Sometimes it appears to be difficult even for the director to distinguish between reality and fiction. Pedro Almodà ³var just accepts the fact that films are his life. The films he makes just come from his life and sometimes it happens vice versa: his films give rise to life. All About My Mother has both the features of reality and fiction. Every picture is the result of the film-makers fantasy and imagination. However, this film is also a mourning of Almodà ³var for his own mother. Thus, the intertextual references make fiction and reality interpenetrate and it is already impossible to tell reality from fiction as it is impossible to differentiate between the grief of the mother who lost her only son and the grief of a son who lost his mother. The thirteenth film by Pedro Almodà ³var All About My Mother is considered by the critics to be the most accomplished directors film. It is dramatically rich and its emotional gravitas really does serve to recognize the power and quality of the film.

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