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The Sumptuous Sound Design of Pedro Almodóvar

Here’s a look at how Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar uses sound design to construct vibrant, tactile worlds.
High Heels Pedro Almodovar Sound Design
By  · Published on October 6th, 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 sound design of Pedro Almodovar movies.

The films of Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar are the dictionary definition of sensual. And while, unfortunately, we can only experience the medium of film with two of our available senses, rest assured that if more sensory modes of experience were available to cinema-goers, Almodóvar would almost certainly exploit them.

And yet, armed with sight and sound, Almodóvar crafts worlds, scenarios, and moments that might as well be tactile. He conjures visual feasts replete with vividity, patterns, and palettes. Spectacles of scarlet, lime, paisley, and plum. Even when he made a horror film that one time (the extraordinary The Skin I Live In) he couldn’t help but flirt with tiger print.

But Almodóvar is also a master of sound design, a vital cinematic ingredient whose impact often goes underappreciated because, unlike images, it is not right in front of your face. It is impossible to screengrab the effervescence of a champagne pop, the satisfying slice of a reluctant tomato, or the inimitable crinkle of tin foil. From the rude, boisterous films of his post-Franco youth to the meditative confessional turn of his later pictures, Almodóvar has never held back, and that applies to sound as much as anything else.

Sound is front and center in Almodóvar’s work. And for a greater appreciation of what I’m talking about, and for the auditory equivalent of merlot on a sunny back porch, here’s a montage that encourages us to hear Almodóvar:

Watch “Hearing Pedro Almodóvar – A Lesson in Sound Design“:

Who made this?

This video comes courtesy of the fine folks over at Little White Lies, a film-obsessed magazine based in the United Kingdom. The above video was edited by Luís Azevedo, whose work you can also peek on MUBI and Fandor. 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. And you can follow Azevedo on Twitter here.

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Based in the Pacific North West, Meg enjoys long scrambles on cliff faces and cozying up with a good piece of 1960s eurotrash. As a senior contributor at FSR, Meg's objective is to spread the good word about the best of sleaze, genre, and practical effects.