How the Films of Pedro AlmodÓvar Draw Upon and Influence Spanish Society: Bilingual Essays on His Cinema

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In the films of Pedro Almodóvar one experiences a vivid representation of Spanish life. His films are discussed here in lieu of gender relations, power dynamics, Spanish cultural identity, and inter-textually with other directors such as Alfred Hitchcock. The essays are written in both English and Spanish. They try to bring together a broad variety of interpretations to his popular films. Many articles deal with issues of gender and representations of cultural iconography from Catholicism on love and death.

Through a variety of authors and angles, as well as in two languages, this volume opens new perspectives on the films of Pedro Almodóvar. This work portrays how Almodóvar reaches into Spanish history and utilizes social changes that followed the fall of Franco to form his aesthetic creations. The book links the transformations of Spanish society and that of the evolution, if not the maturity of the filmmaker as he observes a society that is finally free to be and become what it desires. Each chapter reveals how the audience can witness the auteur’s maturation at the same pace as that of the Spanish society. Just like Almodóvar’s films, often criticized for their complex plots, today’s Spain is a complex mosaics that is constantly evolving and adjusting to the world that surrounds it. If many questions about what defines and inspires the filmmaker’s personal vision of the world still remain, one thing is for sure: the Almodóvar phenomenon has established an international image of Spain that is open and yet traditional, vibrant, and dynamic.


“The most “phenomenal” thing about Almodóvar and the films he makes in Spain may be, just possibly, that truth and the reality to which it would attach itself (be it configured as a nation, as a language, as a history, or as so much more) are not firmly fixed, but flow instead unevenly across places, across times, across languages, nations, and identities: Spanish, of course, and English also, but beyond them, amid a swirl of subtitles, dubbings, and subjectively tinged interpretations, an intricate, glocalized world articulated, represented, experienced, and (mis)apprehended in as many ways as there are languages, nations, and identities.”
-Prof. Brad Epps,
Harvard University

“The contributors to this bilingual volume clearly delineate the forms of Spanish society that breaths its freedom as if it wanted to recapture the paradise lost under Franco’s dictatorship. They equally examine the complex and at times blurred frontiers of masculinities, offering a rare analysis of filmic aesthetics such as the red color in all its manifestations as Almodóvar’s signature.”

-Prof. Moussa Sow,
The College of New Jersey

“The authors establish a parallelism between the director’s professional trajectory and his country’s societal changes following the ending of the Franco era, examining also how his work has evolved from the outrageousness of his initial films to the complexity of his latest movies.”

-Prof. Rosario Torres,
Pennsylvania State University

Table of Contents



By Brad Epps, Harvard University

Spain’s True Colors: The Almodóvar Phenomenon
María R. Matz and Carole Salmon, editors University of Massachusetts Lowell

Facing Almodóvar's Vision of Spanish Contemporary Society: Women, Men and Everyone in Between
María R. Matz and Carole Salmon, University of Massachusetts Lowell
The Maternal Figure
Is my Mother a Man?
Who Am I?
Almodóvar’s Maternal Patterns

Masculinities – Maskulinities, or Why does Almodóvar outcast Men?
Jean Xavier Brager, Louisiana State University Emasculation – Emaskulation
Hitchcock - His Cock: Emasculation through the Master’s Lens
Über-fóllamezation as a Way Out
Shooting and Writing: Sexuality between the Lines
Fluidity – Flee-idity
Nudity – Newdity: Almodóvar’s Anti-Splash
The Color of Authorship: Almodóvar’s Labyrinth of Red
Michael Rennett, University of Texas at Austin Love and Passion

Blood and Death
The Catholic Religion
A Conflation of Themes

Allegories of Authenticity: Production Design in Pedro Almodóvar’s
¡Átame! and Todo sobre mi madre
Margret Nisch, Independent Scholar, Berlin, Germany
The Construction of Normality in ¡Átame!
The Performance of Authenticity: Todo sobre mi madre
Surface as Content

El cine dentro del cine en la obra de Pedro Almodóvar: pasión cinéfila y tradición barroca
Javier Herrera, Filmoteca Española, Madrid, Spain Las imágenes robadas y el cine como realidad
El mundo de detrás de la pantalla: el director y sus alter ego
El rodaje dentro del rodaje, la autocita y el palimpsesto
Citas fílmicas, películas faro y pasión cinéfila
Duplicación, multiplicidad y barroquismo
¿Hacer cine como si Franco no hubiera existido?
Antonio Francisco Pedrós-Gascón, Colorado State University
Franquismo: significante forcluido
Camp, ¿sistema aislado?
Costumbrismo y casticismo: hable (castellano) con ellos
Carne Trémula, o el (alucinante) retorno del significante
Elena, entre Tiziano y Madrazo: la condena a la repetición

Mujeres al rescate: imaginación creadora como atributo femenino
en el cine de Pedro Almodóvar
Hilda Chacón, Nazareth College

Escritoras al borde de un ataque de género(s): feminidad literaria y mujeres escritoras en el cine de Pedro Almodóvar
Juan Senís Fernández, Universidad de Zaragoza, Teruel, Spain
“Como religiosa y escritora estoy en crisis”
“No puedo escribir novela rosa, me sale negra”
“Ni siquiera creo que seas una mujer”
Escritoras al borde de un ataque de género(s)

Made in Spain: el fenómeno Almodóvar
María R. Matz, University of Massachusetts Lowell El concepto de lo español
Elementos Made in Spain ¿Qué hay para comer?

Pedro Almodóvar’s Filmography
Selected Bibliography on Pedro Almodóvar

Other Sociology Books