Автор работы: Пользователь скрыл имя, 13 Августа 2013 в 15:34, доклад
Pedro Almodóvar – one of the central figures in Spanish film- starts his career in cinema through a series of shorts known as Super-8 in 1970’s. These highly experimental shorts already possess, however, one of the most typical features of Almodovarian cinema – transgressive and overtly sexual content, which celebrates a liberating power of love. This motive has been inspired by the left-wing artistic movement (La Movida Madrileña) which emerges after Franco`s death in 1975 and propagandizes a new freedom of expression. Being deprived of the opportunity to study at the National School of Cinema (it has been closed by Franco just before the filmmaker arrives in Madrid) Almodovar is exposed to the underground pop-culture of the city. Together with Fabio McNamara – a provocative, transgressive model and one of the most recognized representatives of the movement La Movida Madrileña – Pedro creates a glam rock duo, which is quite popular among young Madrilenians.
Labyrinth of Passion
Pedro Almodóvar – one of the central figures in Spanish film- starts his career in cinema through a series of shorts known as Super-8 in 1970’s. These highly experimental shorts already possess, however, one of the most typical features of Almodovarian cinema – transgressive and overtly sexual content, which celebrates a liberating power of love. This motive has been inspired by the left-wing artistic movement (La Movida Madrileña) which emerges after Franco`s death in 1975 and propagandizes a new freedom of expression. Being deprived of the opportunity to study at the National School of Cinema (it has been closed by Franco just before the filmmaker arrives in Madrid) Almodovar is exposed to the underground pop-culture of the city. Together with Fabio McNamara – a provocative, transgressive model and one of the most recognized representatives of the movement La Movida Madrileña – Pedro creates a glam rock duo, which is quite popular among young Madrilenians. There is no surprise that when Almodovar finally starts shooting films they are dedicated to pop-culture and the people he can observe daily – representatives of this newly emerged cultural phenomenon – artists, musicians, actors and models. His first featured film Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón, though having a rather loose connection between different plot components, still manages to capture the spirit of the time. In no time it becomes a cult film and allows Almodovar to raise enough money to shoot his second film - Laberinto de pasiones.
Laberinto de pasiones (Labyrinth of Passion) is a screwball comedy about sex, drugs, terrorists, cross-dressing, psychotherapy and airports. This film will be the apogee of Almodovar`s interest in pop-art. He himself described it as “the most pop-art film I`ve ever made”. Laberinto de pasiones can be characterized as a documentary as it follows the real figures of La Movida Madrileña who play themselves in the film: Spanish song-singers, models and even designer (a famous hat maker who will play the girl with lots of complexes). Even Almodovar`s close collaborator, Fabio McNamara, is featured in a few scenes. However, Almodovar not only invites all his friends but appears himself in a couple of episodes. Pedro portrays himself as a goofy and quite a deviant director of telenovella and also as a comical underground punk-performer who wears women clothes and can be easily assumed to have a transgressive identity.
Unlike in Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón in Laberinto de pasiones Almodovar reaches a wider audience with less underground, trashy content: the sexual transgressive material is tamed here by farcical strategy. It is a beautiful fusion of a screwball comedy and erotic film: Sexilia, a strong, eccentric female character who builds the whole narration around her and will eventually find love, is also a nymphomaniac (even her name suggests that). However, sexuality is a very fluid substance in this film. Almodovar plays with the narrative by creating a “perfect” couple from Riza - a homosexual Don Juan - and Sexilia-a compulsive nymphomaniac - who fall in love at first sight. It`s highly symbolic that this happens when Riza unveils himself as an artist, which implies a unifying power of art as both lovers share a professional identity. Not unlike any couple in screwball comedy their union will be sealed only at the very end of the film in a very comical scene; we don`t actually see their sexual encounter but we can hear both lovers in an exaggerated way and the plane represents here a flying, flickering with phallus. This episode is a quite lovely representation of a “historical” episode from the film by Hitchcock – North by Northwest – where in the final scene lovers reconcile on the board of a plane. In Laberinto de pasiones Almodovar will install some moments from classic Hollywood films to pay tribute to American cinema, Hitchcock in particular. He will also employ psyche-analytical subplot: the identity crisis of young characters in this film is connected with the childhood trauma – sexual abuse by parental figure. Almodovar in a playful way uses a psyche-analytical drama cliché: Sexilia`s psychoanalyst unveils her trauma by suggesting that the last might be in love with her father and worship him as the sun. At the end of the film in a flashback the mystery of Sexilia`s fear of the sun and nymphomania will be revealed in a highly melodramatic way: a newly formed couple of Sexilia and Rizo will be destroyed by the abusive role of parental figures. Rizo will be molested by his step-mother, while Sexilia will be totally neglected by her father at the moment when she is seeking his support. This monstrous experience will affect both characters resulting in their confusing experience of sexual identity.
There is no coincidence that the two parental figures are obsessed with pregnancy: Princess Toraya wants to get pregnant to return her position as the wife of the former Emperor of Tiran; Sexilie`s father is a gynecologist specializing in artificial insemination. The fact that they both benefit from artificial insemination suggests their abusive, in some way artificial parental behavior. For instance Princess Toraya will try to track her step-son in order to get his sperm; the doctor in the end of the film will have sex with Queti thinking that she is Sexilie. Those facts bring us to the crucial theme of the film – incest. The motive of incest has also a political connotation here: unmistakable reference to how Franco legitimately abused his own “children” – his nation (it is a well-known fact that Franco used to call himself the father of Spanish people). Almodovar sends here a very clear political message that all children representing New Spain have been abused by their parental figures, by Franco regime and its realities. The scene where Queti is tied and raped by her own father after a series of inappropriate sexual foreplays is smartly framed to capture the image of a cross which silently gives its approval to the happening; just like the church, being a great part of Franco ideology, approved exploitation of the nation. Almodovar consciously uses these techniques to emphasize the idea that now it is a high time to rebel the oppression, to live, to explore the life which was forbidden by “the moral values” of Franco regime. It is obvious that no parental figure will escape the abusive image here: the doctor’s hypocrisy is emphasized by his confession that he hates sexual act which also explains his interest in artificial insemination. Here Almodovar refers to the crucial role of upper class that supported and even collaborated with Franco regime. Another example of collaboration is connected with the encounter of the doctor with the Emperor of Tiran, who wanted the doctor to help him to become a biological father of his people – one more detail to prove the absurdity and monstrosity of any dictatorship. Almodovar delivers for the Spanish audience one more clear reference to political reality of the time – the notional dialog between Sexilia and Queti where the reality of ongoing conversations between citizens who lived under Franco regime is captured in a very clever way. While advocates for resistance kept criticizing the regime the people who accepted the oppressive rules would find excuses or rational explanation of the situation: “He (Franco) meant actually well, he just doesn`t know how…one gets used to everything.” In such a graceful way Almodovar integrates a political and historical truth picturing both, people who supported the dictator and those who hated him.
Netherless, Almodovar doesn`t stop on just one interpretation of dictatorship: in Laberinto de pasiones he will look at this phenomenon through Rizo, a rebellious son of the emperor of Tiran. The director uses here a very clever pun as tiran might imply two meaning: tyrant – an abusive figure or Iran and its capital Teheran hinting on the situation in Iran. In 1979 due to the Iranian Revolution the rule of Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavī came to an end. During his reign various controversial policies were enacted, which finally lead to coup d'état and the Emperor`s exile. It’s interesting that when Rizo becomes a pop-singer he will sing the song called “I`m from Tiran” where he will mock Tiranian government. Rizo`s performance cleverly alludes to the shocking and provocative song sung by Almodovar himself which is called “We are the part of a great bargain”. It says: “We going to be fucked this way/ we are going to be fucked that way”, which alludes to the depiction of exaggerated sexual life. In an unmistakable way the director creates a parallel connection between Rizo`s identity and his own. Understanding of dysfunction of political system of the country you are from encourages their rebellious philosophical behavior. This play on words in the songs alludes to the recent trauma of Spanish nation. Even though the film was created after the death of Franco and during the period of transition from dictatorship to democracy, Almodovar finds it significant to stir awareness of Spaniards and makes sure people don`t settle to mediocre solutions when it comes to installing democracy. No wonder the filmmaker comes to conclusion that escaping to the idyllic place where their first encounter takes place is the best solution for his “perfect” couple as he still seems to be rather skeptical about the future of Spain.
Doctor de la Peña`s final incest with Queti suggests the double motive of abusive identity. Almodovar captures here one more social reality of Franco regime: Queti from the working class tries to obtain the status of upper-class. She yarns to assimilate to the privilege class and in the end of the film through a number of plastic surgeries she will become Sexilie and finally gain independence. However, Queti will continue the psyche of incestuous relationship by seducing Sexilia`s father and continue this circle of abuse, cruelty and hypocrisy. She plays the same “cruel rules of the game” by manipulating the doctor and his consciousness by drugging him to satisfy her own agenda: we know about her attraction to Sexile`s father. Pedro Almodovar delivers here a quite complex but rather lucid comment on the class struggle which has been a part of Franco regime, but won`t disappear even with the emergence of New democratic Spain.
Depiction of sexuality is huge in Laberinto de pasiones. Even the title of the film suggests the complicated relationship of the characters with sex. In the film sexual behavior is depicted as an ultimate act of freedom – the last shot of a plane, ascending higher and higher into the sky as a woman screams out in orgasmic pleasure. More than anything else, this is a tapestry of horny, messed up Spaniards in a city where desire spills out into the streets - for so long sex and experience of sexuality and of your body were seen as an act against God! However, Almodovar will deconstruct that negative image of sex by proclaiming it as a possible act of liberation. Sexlia and Rizo are liberated through sex, but it`s amusing that the minute they fall in love they stop their quite strong sexual appetite. Rizo accepts his bisexuality while Sexilia abandons her rather doubtful sexual encounters with other men as an evidence of true love. Nevertheless, the representation of sex in Almodovarian film is rather comical, farcical. For instance, Sexilia mentions orgy to her psychoanalyst in a rather casual way, which adds absurdity to the whole situation; we can also see the first scene of threesome and homosexuality in Spanish film. The moment when two men undress each other is quite epic as it is the time the total nakedness of men`s bodies has been exhibit on the screen in Spain. But again Almodovar implies a political connotation in this episode as these two men, being political enemies, are still attracted to each other. Once again the idea of liberation through sex is emphasized here: no restrictions are able to keep people from falling in love. This sexual encounter is shown, however, in a rather cartoonish way as one the lovers, Sadec, being a member of terroristic organization has to catch his partner using his anomalistic talents to retrieve the smell of Rizo.
Another cartoonish couple which exemplifies liberating powers of love and desire consists of Sexilia`s band members and her sweetheart with whom she reunites. This quite a memorable lady has a conflicting relationship with her body which she manages to overcome due to her participation in punk band. This curse of hatred towards one’s own body will be destroyed by the rebellious behavior of youth, especially by the members of La Movida Madrileña.
One of the greatest values of Laberinto de pasiones is that it marks transitions that have never been seen before in Spanish cinema. Almodovar imposes new characteristics to Spanish film making it more realistic, provocative and underground. There is no coincidence that he invites a lot of stars of underground cinema as he wants to reestablish their unrecognized role in Spanish film. Even the title is the tribute to classic erotic pornographic films that were strictly prohibited during Franco regime. The title also accounts for chaotic dynamics that remind of labyrinth, labyrinth of people all connected to some extent. It also applies to Spanish new society, complex, broken, controverted, where women and men are trying to find themselves and their love, passion. The opening scene exemplifies this theme as we see both Rizo and Sexilia walking through the crowd at El Rastro - the most popular open air flea market in Madrid – checking out men`s genitals. But what makes this scene even more provocative and, so to say, dramatic is the music at the background that is nothing else, but iconic Catalan dance – sardanes. This music was prohibited by Franco as all other displays of Catalan culture. Here Pedro Almodovar pays tribute to the resistance against Franco regime.
In Laberinto de pasiones Almodovar already confronts one of the major motives of his filmography – dysfunctional family. The couple of an irritated mother and her tube-test daughter exemplify this paradigm as they barely talk to each other. However, the daughter seems more mature:she is reading the book while her mother is complaining all the time. This episode shows one more undignified parental behavior and celebrates the freedom of youth. Almodovar throughout the whole film agitates that it`s essential for young people, for new Spain, to break abusive relationship and create the sense of family within themselves.
In Laberinto de pasiones Pedro Almodovar already establishes himself as a provocative and bold voice of New Spain. He doesn`t shy away from challenging Spanish identity by revealing some unpleasant facts about its past or present. However, in his films Almodovar expresses his love to Spain by also honoring the diversity of Spain`s past; and it would be a mistake to suggest that his films are full of sorrow and disappointment, quite the contrary, the feeling of hope is running through all his works and Laberinto de pasiones is not an exception.