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The Total Design of Pedro Almodóvar

Almodóvar is anything but subtle. And that’s a good thing.
Pedro Almodovar design
By  · Published on August 10th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that explores the design of Pedro Almodovar films.

The look of a Pedro Almodóvar film is many things: campy, vibrant, obsessive, outrageous. But it is not subtle. You notice it.

Following in the footsteps of Alfred Hitchcock and Powell and Pressburger, Almodóvar’s approach to design is total. It takes hold of everything from the smallest object to the most meaningful centerpiece, saturating everything from the costumes to the set design and lighting.

Almodóvar’s films proudly display artifice and revel in abundance. He populates his frames with garish kitsch, vibrant hues, and a reckless abandon for patterns, paintings, and a good silk shirt. It is an unforgettable aesthetic as unapologetic and passionate as any of his characters.

However, Almodóvar’s sense of design isn’t just a matter of aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics. As the video essay below explains, bold design is a narrative tool for Almodóvar. Focusing on Laws of Desire and the film that brought him to widespread international attention, Women of the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, the essay unpacks how Almodóvar uses design to tell a story.

Watch “Total Design: Pedro Almodóvar’s Law of Desire and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown“:

Who made this?

This video is the 32nd entry in a series of audiovisual essays by Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin. The series coincided with the streaming service MUBI’s retrospective The Art of Transgression: The Cinema of Almodóvar, which is playing from August 18 – October 19, 2019, in the United Kingdom. You can find Álvarez López and Martin’s work on Vimeo here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).