WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN
DIRECTOR: PEDRO ALMODOVAR
COUNTRY: SPAIN 1988
CINEMATOGRAPHY: JOSE LUIS ALCAINE
CAST: Carmen Maura(Pepa), Antonio Banderas(Ivan), Julieta Serrano(Candella), Rossy de Palma
(Marissa), Maria Barranco
SUPER FEATURES: One just keeps expecting something to happen....
In light of the snafu regarding the release of Pedro Almodovar's new film on Cinco de Mayo, I thought I would add
another one of his films to my list of films reviewed.
Pedro Almodovar may not be the best director that ever graced the shores of the spanish filmdom. But his body of
work has made a mark, and like his comrades that have been enchanting many an audience since the Olympics, not it
is his turn to get some attention.
Pedro's films are not anything like Carlos Saura, whose films have a severe edge of seriousness to it, even if
trying to hide it. Or like Pedro Olea's style of zen filming. Or maybe, Antonio Mercero's style of who cares
satirical anything. And then there is Vincente Aranta, those film AMANTES was well received, but attacked
because it created a diabolical good/evil conflict, or at least the temptations of a young man under the
influence of a pair of women. In all cases, the one thing that stands out is SEX.... spelled S-E-X. The
attitudes are from rampant satirical stuff, to serious suggestive movements in dance, that say more with a look
than they might with a naked body.
WOMEN ON THE VERGE, is not as funny a film as one would hope. But it does have funny situations in it, which are
accentuated by a filming style that is immediately surrealistic and cubistic. The perfect example is the linear
style seen in the stairway towards the end of the film, when the angry wife who has been shunned, moves from left
to right, and we only see her head.... as if we could do some target practice on a small duck head at a carnival.
It is immediately surreal, stupid, and self indulgent all at the same time... which of course goes perfectly
with the old lady's motives to get even with her husband.
The story is rather simple. A well to do gentleman, seems to be bored with his wife, and takes on a few
mistresses, who just happen to be bumping into each other all the time. Though they are courteous at first,
their dislike is apparent, for each other. And soon, Pepa's whole apartment is awash with a sister, a friend,
and heaven knows what else. And they are all troubled by their latest adventures. And when the plot has been
figured out by them, it is Pepa who in the end comes through as the rational and inteligent woman, who has been
taken advantage of.... and this man just lost her forever. He leaves with his new interest, a vain minded,
vindictive woman, who is a lawyer. Pepa whispers they deserve to screw each other at one time.
A very fun film to watch from a director's point of view, because all the angles are strange, and very odd,
adding a certain mystique like, art nouveau style to the film, which is akin with the new attitude which Pepa is
undertaking. She is not about the old styles, and tries hard to deal with her problems. And unlike the others,
she is not about to get trapped. She sees to it that she doesn't. And in doing so, she prooves to be a real
woman, in a life full of fake people, and people whose honesty and intent is very questionable... including the
gentleman's son, who is already displaying his lack of consideration for women.
Inteligent Film... for a specialized audience. Difficult to watch, if you are expecting action, suspense, or a
drama. Try Arnie, then.
Please email me with questions and/or comments
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