Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay on the center-frames of Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar.
What directors spring to mind when you think of center-framed compositions? Wes Anderson is certainly a noteworthy proponent of the “putting things in the middle of the shot” school. The same is true, of course, for Stanley Kubrick, whose notorious perfectionism often manifests in meticulously crafted shots that skirt naturalism in favor of unnervingly symmetrical visuals.
But I’ll admit, when it comes to center-framed cinema, the work of Pedro Almodóvar never sprung to mind. As a fan of center frames and of Almodóvar’s work, this is a sin on multiple fronts. Perhaps I was dazzled by the tomato-reds and enthusiastic embrace of kitsch and camp. But as the video essay below emphatically proves, the Spanish auteur’s work deserves a plaque on the same wall as many of his symmetry-loving peers. Letting the frames speak louder than words ever could, the essay offers up emphatic evidence that when it comes to center-framing, from 1980’s Other Girls Like Mom to 2019’s Pain and Glory, Almodóvar is toe-to-toe with the best of ’em.
Now, a word of caution to those who clicked on this article with little (or no) knowledge of Pedro Almodóvar’s work. First off: Hello, welcome. Always a pleasure to meet a fellow admirer of symmetrical composition. But be warned: Almodóvar has plenty of directorial hallmarks. One of them is aesthetically even composition. Another is a wantonly provocative attitude towards nudity and sex. So, for those in need of a warning: this video is NSFW. Now that all the prudes are gone, on with the center-framed show:
Watch “Pedro Almodóvar Centered”:
Who made this?
This video essay on why rhetorical questions make for such iconic movie quotes comes courtesy of the fine folks at Little White Lies, a film-obsessed magazine based in the United Kingdom. This video is directed by Luís Azevedo directed and produced by Adam Woodward. You can follow Little White Lies on Twitter here. And you can check out their official website here. You can subscribe to their YouTube account here.
More videos like this
- For another look at Azevedo’s work with Little White Lies, here’s a video essay on the movie title design and opening title sequences of Pablo Ferro.
- And here is Little White Lies‘ look at how Pedro Almodóvar uses sound design to construct vibrant, tactile worlds.
- And here’s a video essay from Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin for MUBI, on how Almodóvar’s films exemplify the aesthetic principle of “total design.”
- From Fandor: why Almodóvar’s body of work is a place where camp meets high art in extraordinary ways