Film Series - Women's Troubles: The Films of Pedro Almodovar @ Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley [from 27 July to 31 August]

Film Series - Women's Troubles: The Films of Pedro Almodovar


365
27
Jul
 
- 31
Aug
19:00 - 21:00

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Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive
2155 Center St, Berkeley, California 94704
Emerging from the epicenter of the post-Franco Madrid counterculture known as La Movida Madrileña, Pedro Almodóvar’s films exuberantly resurrect all that was oppressed, threatened, or destroyed during four decades of fascist governance in Spain. From a young age Almodóvar was entranced both by cinema and by the way acting seemed to be an innate skill for the women around him. “Life is filled with these miniature plays, scenarios, where people are forced to act or fake, and women are naturally born actresses,” Almodóvar has said; as a child he observed that “through their lies [women] managed to avoid more than one tragedy.” Unlike the women of his childhood, however, Almodóvar’s characters are never destined to avoid tragedy but must, and do, learn to survive it. As brilliantly performed by Carmen Maura, Penélope Cruz, Gael García Bernal, and many others, his protagonists face their trials with passion, practicality, and camaraderie, and although romance is almost always doomed to fail, loyal friends will always lend a hand. Spontaneous solidarity between women (and men who live as women) is the poignant and comic core of Almodóvar’s stories. His films channel the melodrama of Douglas Sirk and Max Ophuls, the rigor of Alfred Hitchcock, and the surrealism of Luis Buñuel, all rendered in a supersaturated pop palette with a cast of characters as colorful as the mise-en-scène itself. Roger Ebert describes Almodóvar’s films as “a struggle between real and fake heartbreak—between tragedy and soap opera.” While the settings are contrived, the films and the feelings represented always ring true.
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