Monday, 8 August 2011

Reading Almodóvar, Part One:

Like my lists of books on Spanish cinema, this is something of a cross between an annotated bibliography and a recommended reading list. This is not intended to be a definitive list –there are an abundance of other books and articles on Almodóvar and his films– but rather a list of texts that I have happened upon while researching Almodóvar, and / or Spanish cinema more generally. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the arguments or interpretations set forth by these authors, but I do think that their views are worth considering. The first Almodóvar film that I saw was Kika (1993), and this list contains a bias towards things written after that point (and about films made after that point as well). Likewise, there is a bias towards texts written in either English or Spanish, but given Almodóvar’s status in France there is also a wealth of material in French out there, if you care to look for it –particularly Cahiers du cinema, Positif, and Premiere (the French version). Most of the French magazines have websites where you can buy back issues (if you can’t get access to them through a library).
If I have embedded a link in the title, it will take you either to the abstract or the article itself –a great deal of material is now available online. Where that isn’t the case I will try to include enough information that you should be able to track it down via another route –if you can’t access the articles online, people in the UK will be able to get copies through the British Library or the BFI Library. In the case of reviews, I have just indicated which film is discussed.

Part One: Authors A -H

Allinson, M. (2001) – A Spanish Labyrinth: The Films of Pedro Almodóvar, London: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd. ISBN: 9781860645075.
One of the most detailed studies of Almodóvar’s films (and very readable), this book covers up to (and including) All About My Mother. Rather than taking a film-by-film approach, Allinson instead looks at the films thematically: national identity; social structures, gender, sexuality, Madrid; genre; visual style; music and songs; and postmodernism, performance and parody. The Spanish edition of the book includes an extra chapter on Talk to Her, and Amazon seems to suggest that the book is being re-issued later this year.
        (2005) –‘Todo sobre mi madre / All About My Mother’, in The Cinema of Spain and Portugal edited by A. Mira, London & New York: Wallflower Press, pp.229-237. ISBN: 9781904764441

Arroyo, J. (1999) –‘Review: All About My Mother / Todo sobre mi madre’, Sight & Sound, 9:9, p.40.  
        (2002) –‘Review: Talk to Her / Hable con ella’, Sight & Sound, 12:9, pp.76-78.

Boyero, C. (2009) –‘¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?', El País, 18th March, p.38. 
An infamous negative ‘review’ of Broken Embraces.

Bruzzi, S. (1997) –Undressing Cinema: Clothing and identity in the movies, London and New York: Routledge. ISBN: 9780415139571
The chapter on ‘Cinema and Haute Couture’ includes a section on Jean Paul Gaultier’s costumes for Victoria Abril’s character in Kika.

Byrne, B. (2009) –‘What has Almodóvar done to deserve this?’, Screen International, 27th March, pp.6-7. 
A defence of sorts in relation to the Boyero review listed above.

Cabrera Infante, G. (1999) –‘Todo sobre Almodóvar’, El País, 16th May. 
(All About My Mother)
        (2002) –‘Homenaje a la catatonia’, El País, 25th August, p.26.  
An article about Talk to Her and its position within Almodóvar’s oeuvre.

Colmenero Salgado, S. (2001) –Todo sobre mi madre, Estudio critico, Barcelona: Ediciones Paidós. ISBN: 9788449310942.
Like the BFI Classics series of monographs.

Costa, J. (2004) –‘Review: La mala educación’, Fotogramas, [March or April]. 
        (2006a) –‘La fama, la muerte y todo lo demás: una conversación entre Penélope Cruz y Pedro Almodóvar’, Citizen K España, Spring (March/April/May), no.5, pp.98-102. 
Interview with Almodóvar and Cruz around the time of Volver’s release –this particular issue contains a lot of articles on different aspects of Almodóvar’s work and his regular collaborators (for example, Alberto Iglesias and Juan Gatti).
        (2006b) –‘Review: Volver’, Fotogramas, April, p.17.
        (2009) –‘Review: Los abrazos rotos’, Fotogramas, April, p.13.

D’Lugo, M. (2002) –‘The Geopolitical Aesthetic in Recent Spanish Films’, Post Script, 21:2 (Winter/Spring), pp.78-89.
Takes All About My Mother and Julio Medem’s Lovers of the Arctic Circle as the main examples.

de la Torriente, E. (2006) –'Volver a casa', El País Semanal, 5th March.
Interview and photo-shoot with Almodóvar and the actresses in the cast of Volver.

Edwards, G. (2001) –Almodóvar: Labyrinths of Passion, London: Peter Owen Publishers. ISBN: 0720611210.
The chapters are film-by-film, up to (and including) All About My Mother.

Epps, B. and D. Kakoudaki (ed.s) (2009) –All About Almodóvar: A passion for cinema, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN: 9780816649617.
I’m not going to give a break down of every article –but if you want further info about a specific chapter, leave me a message in the comments box.
Approaching Almodóvar: Thirty Years of Reinvention –Brad Epps & Despina Kakoudaki
I: Forms and Figures
Almodóvar on Television: Industry and Thematics –Paul Julian Smith
Queer Sound: Musical Otherness in Three Films by Pedro Almodóvar –Kathleen M. Vernon [All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Bad Education]
Performing Identities in the Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar –Isolina Ballesteros
Acts of Violence in Almodóvar –Peter William Evans
Heart of Farce: Almodóvar’s Comic Complexities –Andy Medhurst
II: Melodrama and Its Discontents
Mimesis and Diegesis: Almodóvar and the Limits of Melodrama –Mark Allinson
Melancholy Melodrama: Almodóvarian Grief and Lost Homosexual Attachments –Linda Williams
Intimate Strangers: Melodrama and Coincidence in Talk to Her –Despina Kakoudaki
III: The Limits of Representation
Almodóvar’s Girls –Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit
All about the Brothers: Retroseriality in Almodóvar’s Cinema –Marsha Kinder
Blind Shots and Backward Glances: Reviewing Matador and Labyrinth of Passion –Brad Epps
Missing a Beat: Syncopated Rhythms and Subterranean Subjects in the Spectral Economy of Volver –Steven Marsh
Postnostalgia in Bad Education: Written on the Body of Sara Montiel –Marvin D’Lugo
IV: The Auteur in Context
Inside Almodóvar –Ignacio Oliva
Pepi, Patty, and Beyond: Cinema and Literature in Almodóvar –Francisco A. Zurián
Bad Education: Fictional Autobiography and Meta-Film Noir –Víctor Fuentes
Volver: A Filmmaker’s Diary –Pedro Almodóvar 

Evans, P.W. (1996) –BFI Modern Classics: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, London: BFI Publishing. ISBN: 9780851705408
Part of the series of monographs on classic films, this book looks at Almodóvar’s use of comedy and melodrama, his representations of men and women, and includes analysis of Carmen Maura’s star image and how it is employed in this film.

Fernández-Santos, Á. (1997) –‘Carne viva’, El País, 12th October. 
(Live Flesh).
        (2004) –‘La perversidad del ángel’, El País, 19th March, p.53. 
(Bad Education).

Galán, D. (2004a) –‘¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?’, El País, 6th February.
A review that was written when the film featured in El País’s DVD range (in a series that focused on Almodóvar’s films).
        (2004b) –‘Tacones lejanos’, El País, 27th November.
As above, a review that was written when the film featured in El País’s DVD range (in a series that focused on Almodóvar’s films).

Gámez Fuentes, M.J. (2001) –‘No todo sobre las madres: cine español y género de los noventa’, Archivos de la filmoteca, no.39 (October), pp.68-85.
[Taken from the official abstract] This paper analyses the various images of motherhood through their configuration in ‘90s films such as El pájaro de la felicidad (1993), Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto (1995), Solas (1999) and Todo sobre mi madre (1999). The different figures are considered as cultural products which articulate tensions contextualized at a particular historical moment: the consolidation of democracy in Spain. Through a detailed study of the maternal, such issues as job access, geographical origin and sexual identity are discussed within the framework of the private and public negotiations women are to be faced with in the new welfare state. The legacy of the dictatorial past is, undoubtedly, a question that also permeates the construction of female narratives -unfolded here in personal and historical complexity.

Gibbs, J. (2006) –‘Filmmakers’ Choices’, in Close-Up 01, London and New York: Wallflower Press, pp.1-87.  ISBN: 9781904764571
Includes sections on Talk to Her.

Gilbey, R. (2004) –‘Review: Bad Education / La mala educación’, Sight & Sound, 14:6 (June), p.44-46.

Harguindey, Á. (2004) –‘¡Átame!’, El País, 30th October.
A review written when the film featured in El País’s DVD range (in a series that focused on Almodóvar’s films).
      (2006) –‘Pedro Almodóvar: “Tal vez tenga que inventarme una nueva vida”’, El País, 17th March, p.62-63. 
Interview for Volver.

Harguindey, Á. and E. Fernández-Santos (2009) –‘Fundidos a negro’, El País Semanal, No.1693, 8th March, pp.42-59. 
Article and photo shoot for Broken Embraces.

Part Two will be posted soon...