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IB Film - Case Studies
Women on the edge of a nervous breakdown

Title: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Director: Pedro Almodóvar 

Year: 1988 

Synopsis: Although the kinky characters and the abnormal social behavior that has become a common feature in the work of Pedro Almodóvar are evident in his 'Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown', the film is a mocking of the grand tradition. The setting for this tale is a miniature apartment of a pregnant actress Carmen Maura. Distressed over her fresh breakup with her lover, she prepares to overdose herself on sleeping pills. She blends them into a gazpacho so she would be able to swallow them more easily. When Carmen's apartment is empty, her ex-lover's son, Antonio Banderas, comes to the apartment with his fiancé who eats the gazpacho and the problems begin.


This film is particularly important because it was set among the post-Franco bourgeoisies. Spain was no longer under Franco's control and Pedro made his movie everything Franco would have hated- feminist, sexual and teasing. "It is painless sexual politics, a fiendish comedy full of prickles and pain and the bright shiny pinks of a matador's cape." The Washington Post "Good production values, crisp lensing, fine editing and mock-heroic music all add up to a thoroughly enjoyable film." Variety "Gorging on the bad, bad world of TV soap operas, tabloid news and those Roy Lichtenstein cartoons where anguished women lament their lives with "Brad," Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar gets a wonderful rise out of life's lows in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown." The Washington Post "In this glossy delight, it's as if Doris Day had been brought forward in time and confronted with the consequences of living in sin." The Washington Post




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