Saturday, April 25, 2009

All About My Flowering Almodovar Secret

I've been bingeing on Almodovar films. Claro.

I've watched:
Volver (The Return)
Atame! (Tie Me Up!/Tie Me Down!)
Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother)
and Mujeres al borde de un Ataque de Nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)

These films have a casual, intimate quality that renders the high drama of the plots believable, despite the events or characters that strain the suspension of disbelief. It is like meeting a friend of a friend for the first time, and then spending the whole day with her and realizing when you get home that you really hope you can hang out with her again, because there is a lot of heart and fun mixed in with her brand of crazy.

Almodovar manages to capture female emotions in their full mercurial movement. He presents emotions always in the context that organically feeds them and lets them move the characters (and plot) along.

I love Almodovar's use of colour too - bright orangey reds of 1980s European plastics, turquoise tiles, yellow wallpaper; the sets are as juicy as the passions portrayed in the films. Food also shows up again and again - tomatoes and peppers, frying pans and blenders. Tomatoes may be the metaphors for hearts full to bursting, being methodically chopped up by women trying to keep things under control. And when they can't keep life under control, the women turn to sedatives of various kinds.

My sedatives happen to be the films themselves at the moment.

I'll leave you with a couple of lines spoken by the male-to-female transsexual character of Agrado in "All About My Mother". This line stopped me in my tracks and prompted the blog post:
Well, as I was saying, it costs a lot to be authentic, senora,
and one can’t be stingy with these things
because you are more authentic
the more you resemble
what you’ve dreamed of being.

Heart phone photo from Etsy seller domestikate.

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