Analyze the ways in which Pedro Almodóvar’s Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown reflects changing notions of ‘family’ and cross-gender relationships during the Spanish Transition.
The death of Francisco Franco made a huge change of Spain, which marks the end of film censorship and patriarchy. As one of the most well-known feminist directors, Pedro Almodóvar’s movie is a reflection of the oppressive patriarchal society to a new order. He makes the matriarchy to mainstream cinema, not only in Spain but worldwide. Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown is one of his typical movie. This movie shows the change of different aspects which appear in Posfranquismo. In the essay below I will firstly present how this movie reflects changing notions of family. Secondly, how cross-gender relationships change during the Spanish Transition.
Changing the notion of family
Frederic said conventional families are blown apart in Almodóvar’s films, but they are always replaced by new families, odder families certainly, but also more satisfying. The reason why those families are odd can be explained from Almodóvar’s interview: I do not like the normal family very satisfactory. But like animals, human beings need each other. These new families are highly heterodox, but they are real families none the less and express a real need for affection. (1)Absent of father
After the death of Francisco Franco, patriarchy gradually disappeared in Spain. As a feminist Pedro Almodóvar record this facts in his movies .Unlike the traditional family, the family in Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown (1988) and the other eighteen movies of Almodóvar are special and even utopian. In Pedro Almodóvar’s movies the absence of father is the most common thing, Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown is no exception. Almodóvar says in concordance with this facts that “The idea of motherhood is very important in Spain. The father was frequently absent in Spain”. In Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown), due to his parents are divorced Carlos had to live with his grandparents. Instead of raising him up, Ivan tend to has ambiguous relationship with other women which we can see from the start of movie. Also in this movie, Pepa was abandoned by Ivan after she know she was pregnant and try to inform Ivan. But Ivan already fell in love with Paulina. For his son Carlos, the lack of fathering is crucial in the development of his male identity, not only does the father help to establish the manhood of the boy, but he also rescues the boy from the female world. In order to explain why all this fathers are missing in Almodóvar’s movies, we need to trace back to the duties and function of a father in a family. Traditionally, there is a division of labor, the man earns the money and dominance: the women runs the family and take cares of children. As Clyde said “fathers are breadwinner and mothers are childrearers. Fathers generally are non-nurturant, non-expressive and instrumental and in a sense, invisible parents-concerned primarily with interests external to the childrearing function. Thus, this split between home and work makes the man disappear from home and their children’s life. (2)Liberation of women
Instead of depicting women as objects for male gaze and subdued figures under the patriarchal laws, Almodóvar places women in the center of his stories. The status of mother in family is improved since the transition time of Spain. Mothers from movies Almodóvar’s are not being meek and be bullied, there are able to present their own perspectives bravely it is like nothing can stop them to love and hate. For instance, when Pepa introduce herself to Marisa she said she: I am his father’s ex-lover” without any hesitation and she just got Ivan’s admission that he did not love her. Although half of this movie are describing how depressed and unhappy Pepa are. But she released herself at the end of movie and refused to patch up with...
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