104 Great Directors: Pedro Almodovar

“All my movies have an autobiographical dimension, but that is indirectly, through the personages. In fact, I am behind everything that happens and that is said, but I am never talking about myself in first person singular. Something in me–probably a dislike of cheap exhibitionism–stops me from approaching a project too autobiographically.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Body of work.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: All About My Mother.

What Did I Watch: His first three works: Pepi Luci Bom, Labyrinth of Passion, Dark Habits.

Where Does He Fit: Pepi Luci Bom is like if John Waters went to Spain and decided to splice in a bit of a bad punk rock concert film into his work. This film is smart and punk, yet stupid and random, with Almodovar just throwing things at the screen to offend in a way that’s amusing in that bad taste way we know and love. Random title cards, trivialization of rape, and numerous bodily fluids are the name of the game. Favorite quote that also sums up this entire project’s ethos: “Some people think children are mentally retarded. But some of them aren’t!”

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Labyrinth of Passion is a lot staler, however, although the terrible quality that this was watched in does not help matters. I am all for doing what you are good at, but the jokes here are just a lot less funny, and the narrative that was already episodic in Pepi Luci Bom is taken to really absurd levels of disconnection in this that is both amusing and irritating. Almodovar himself is on the record as thinking the side characters are much better than the leads, and he is right on, so we’ll quickly call this a minor slump that still has pleasures and move on.

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Dark Habits is the best looking of the first three Almodovars thanks to Blu-Ray, but it is also in some ways the strangest. Nuns who do drugs and have pet tigers are not necessarily groundbreaking (although it made this the one of his works I was most excited to see when I made a poster for him back in middle school), but this is a surprisingly talky work. You could possibly do it as a chamber play if you pumped up the dialogue, which would be a great read in its own right if someone felt like revamping it…hmmm…I’m getting inspired.

case-5

Most Valuable Asset: Fun.
Most Excited For: Law of Desire.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Absolutely. Too low.

Coming Up Next: Classicist Clint Eastwood.

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