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.
More Videos Like This
- Here’s the 31st entry in Álvarez López and Martin’s Almodóvar series, on how the director exported Spanish cinema by importing influences from other countries
- From Fandor: why Almodóvar’s body of work is a place where camp meets high art in extraordinary ways
- Why Almodóvar sees kitchens as a stage for death, sex, and breaking away from the past
- If you haven’t seen Almodóvar’s latest, Pain And Glory, go do that. Then watch this thirty-minute Q&A with the director at the BFI Southbank.
- Here’s a selection from Almodóvar’s 2016 talk at the Museum of Modern Art, on his life as an artist
- Antonio Banderas’ collaboration with Almodóvar is one of the most enduring actor-director partnerships in the history of cinema: here’s the pair at the Lincoln Center discussing Pain and Glory, their friendship, and growing up together creatively