Spain, 1984, 101 min, Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, Not Rated, Spanish with English subtitles
“An all-out assault on propriety.” – Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"It is quite simply a small masterpiece." – Richard Grenier, New York Times
Overworked cleaning lady Gloria (Carmen Maura) takes in multiple jobs to make ends meet. Her unforgiving life is inhabited by a cast of eccentric characters: an abusive taxi driver husband who schemes to forge Adolf Hitler’s handwriting, a drug-dealing teenage son who is the actual forger, an unappreciative mother-in-law who hides her sweets, and a prostitute neighbor who pays Gloria to sit in on acts she performs with voyeuristic customers. In this absurd and oppressive environment, what is a woman like Gloria to do - in Almodovarian fashion? Drugs, murder, sex, and selling off a younger son to a pedophiliac dentist helped make this tragicomedy the auteur’s first international success.
There’s no greater joy for a film programmer than to come across a totally original filmmaker, in complete command of his domain, whose work resembles no one else’s. Such was my elation at discovering the films of Pedro Almodóvar and programming them - for the first time in the U.S. - starting in 1984, year one of the Miami Film Festival. Today, he’s not only the most celebrated Spanish filmmaker, but one of the world’s greatest directors, period. Our series surveys ten classics made over the course of 25 years, and feature not only his famous ensemble, fondly referred to as chicos y chicas Almodóvar, but also actors like Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem who went on to international stardom.
CGAC Director of Programming Nat Chediak was founder/director of the Miami Film Festival (1984-2001).
Program notes adapted from MoMA’s Almodóvar retrospective.