movies matter | criticism by maryann johanson
Mon Apr 22 2013, 11:37am | 8 comments
Remind me again why Pedro Almodóvar is some kind of cinematic genius…
Wow. I…pretty much hated all of that.
And no, I don’t know why Almodovar is considered a genius, I’ve never liked any of this movie. I find them rather awful at best.
OK, I’ll have a go, though I can’t say I’m a massive fan of Almodovar.
But that trailer was by no means just gay stereotypes, and the gay stereotypes that appeared in it weren’t especially negative (I was mainly reminded of Matt Lucas’s gay Irish cabin attendant in Come Fly WIth Me, and Lucas himself is emphatically gay). It struck me that it was one of those European “camp everything up” style movies. I’m no film expert, but I recognised a style I associate with Italian comedy, not having seen enough Spanish comedy to be able to say much about it. It’s a comedy of exaggeration, a comedy which embraces stereotypes to such an extent that it verges on subverting them. A very physical, overplayed, camp comedy. Now this isn’t my preferred style of comedy, but I’ve read enough critiques to be able to recognise that it has its artistic merits.
Its pedigree, I suspect, includes commedia dell’arte, and when I check my hunch by looking it up on Wikipedia, I find this: “Castagno posits that the aesthetic of exaggeration, distortion, anti-humanism (as in the masked types), and excessive borrowing as opposed to originality was typical of all the arts in the late cinquecento. Theatre historian Martin Green points to the extravagance of emotion during the period of commedia’s emergence as the reason for representational moods, or characters, that define the art. In commedia each character embodies a mood: mockery, sadness, gaiety, confusion, and so forth.”
So it’s a highly stylized, formulaic brand of comedy, in contrast to more realistic, “erudite” forms. You can’t judge it according to the terms of the latter, but more in terms of how the Bakhtinesque carnival uses the formulaic elements to critique or subvert the topic.
Having said all that, I confess, I won’t be making any special effort to see this film.
Wasn’t he the director who discovered Antonio Banderas?,Apart from that, I got nothing–but then I don’t watch a lot of Castilian cinema.
I’ve never been a fan of his work, I’ve seen a few of his movies only because a good friend of mine loved them, but I never hated them either.That said, its worth mentioning that he has presented gay characters before with much more sympathy than is shown here, and he has quite a following from the LBGT community, at least here in Mexico. So this is surprising.
I’ve tried watching his movies — stuff like All About My Mother is pretentious and Bad Education was repulsive.
His popularity eludes me. Sure, his films mainly feature LGBT characters and/or themes, but it doesn’t matter if the film isn’t gripping, well-made or enjoyable.
It’s been twenty years since he did that rape scene played for laughs (in Kika).
Yikes. I cringed through the whole thing. This is from a director who’s supposed to be one of the best of his time? I don’t get that at all from this trailer, it looks cheap and insulting. But then again, I haven’t seen any of Almodóvar’s other films, so I probably shouldn’t make any snap judgements.
That looked like something out of Alan Cumming’s 1994 BBC sitcom The High Life.
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