She’s a Prada-wearing Nun who deals drugs. She’s a bullfighter. She’s a girl in a coma who gets pregnant. She’s a struggling single mother; a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown; a hostage and a sex toy. She’s a fighter. She’s a daughter. She’s a prostitute. She is feisty, passionate, vulnerable and earthy.
Pedro Almodóvar’s career as a director has been inextricably linked to his portrayal of women. His representations of women have led to accusations of misogyny, but also admiration for his deep understanding of women. These two distinct labels have been applied to the award-winning Spanish filmmaker throughout his career and while seemingly at odds with one another, both hold some truth.
“Yes, women are stronger than us. They face more directly the problems that confront them, and for that reason they are much more spectacular to talk about. I don’t know why I am more interested in women, because I don’t go to any psychiatrists, and I don’t want to know why”.
What Almodóvar Women have in common, apart from their characterization as victim or martyr or heroine, is that they are survivors. They struggle to overcome tragedies and adversities that often involve the men in their lives and a betrayal of some kind. A key Almodovar Women trait is that they overcome hardships together, forming close bonds and a deep reliance on each other, a collective force against the harshness of life.
As Pedro Almodovar said of his own upbringing, “It was the women in our house who were in the saddle. If men are the gods, women are not only the presidents, but all the ministers of the government”.
Text by Howard Collinge- The Unique Creatures