Almodovar. Almodovar has produced a masterpiece and a deep filmography (12 archiveable films and counting) that are all unmistakably Almodovarian’. That’s pretty rare in contemporary cinema where you can have 9th or 10th film from an auteur that even if it isn’t a great film, it’s a delightful unique auteur-driven experience that could only be done by that director (like Cronenberg’s Existenz or Mann’s Miami Vice) because it is so infused with that artist’s authorship. The weakness here is I only have 1 film in the top 500 of all-time but I’m pretty far apart from the consensus of All About My Mother so perhaps I’m missing something and a revisit there will change that.
Best film: Talk To Her. It’s a strange and layered masterpiece that is both his most beautiful film and most sharply written (and he’s been one of the best writers in cinema of the past 20-30 years).
total archiveable films: 12
top 100 films: 0
top 500 films: 1 (Talk To Her)
top 100 films of the decade: 4 (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Law of Desire, Talk To Her, Broken Embraces)
most overrated: All About My Mother is #306 all-time on the TSPDT consensus list and it is not in my top 500. I haven’t seen it in ages but every time I start listing my top films of 1999 (one hell of a year) it takes a long time to get to this one.
most underrated: Broken Embraces. This one is a head-scratcher for me. It isn’t in the top 1000 on TSPDT…. of the 21st century. That’s pretty bad… Holy hell. We’re worlds apart as I have it in the top 100 of the 2000’s decade.
gem I want to spotlight: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is the full arrival of Almodovar and it’s part farce, part melodrama, with enough homages to Preston Sturges and Douglas Sirk yet, like say, Tarantino, becomes Almodovar’s his own voice and a fully realized visual touch with an awesome display of primary color palette.
stylistic innovations/traits: Almodovar walks right up to the line of just completely over-the-top melodrama with a magnificent lively flair. Color (the primary colors specifically) are important to Almodovar’s oeuvre. I’d compare him to Fassbinder, Todd Haynes (all in the lineage of Douglas Sirk) but there’s an element of Hitchcock (mostly to his narratives) that isn’t there with Haynes or Fassbinder. He’s also known for working with actresses (Penelope Cruz amongst them) and creating great roles and voices for women. Fast-paced dialogue and a sharp comedic talent will harken back to the screwball era in the 30’s. Like all auteurs that create a world of their own (QT, Wes, Lynch, Malick, Leone, Hitchcock) his films are easily parodied and the worst of his work comes close to self-parody but at his best he’s one of cinema’s truly great artists and even not at his best his work is a refreshing voice that stands on its own.
- Talk to Her
- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
- Broken Embraces
- All About My Mother
- Law of Desire
- Bad Education
- Live Flesh
- The Flower of My Secret
- The Skin I Live In
By year and grades
|1987- The Law of Desire
|1988- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
|1995- The Flower of My Secret
|1997- Live Flesh
|1999- All About My Mother
|2002- Talk To Her
|2004- Bad Education
|2009- Broken Embraces
|2011- The Skin I Live In
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives