Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios / Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, 1988)

Julieta Serrano
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Screenwriter: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Carmen Maura, Maria Barranco, Julieta Serrano, Antonio Banderas, Rossy De Palma, Kiti Manver, Fernando Guillen, Chus Lampreave.
Synopsis: Ivan (Guillen) has left Pepa (Maura). As she alternately tries to track him down around Madrid and waits for his call at home, a range of people (including her friend Candela (Barranco), on the run from the police for harbouring Shi’ite terrorists, the son she never knew Ivan had (Banderas), and Ivan’s unhinged wife (Serrano)) drop by her apartment to further complicate her life. With added Mambo Taxi.

This was Almodóvar’s breakout international hit and the film that, along with All About My Mother, seems to have found his broadest audience –certainly in my own experience, this is a film that most people have heard of, even if they haven’t seen it. It is a comedy but that label barely covers all that it contains –screwball tragic-comedy might be nearer the mark- because while it is undeniably funny, it also contains heartfelt and believable emotion. If you’ve never seen an Almodóvar film, this is a good place to start.