Synopses & Reviews
Understanding Almodóvar's increasing complexity through an investigation ofhis central themes and the Spanish film tradition
"Spanish film director Almodvar is a master storyteller and celebrity auteur, who has captured post-Franco Spain in such provocative films as Labyrinth of Passions and Bad Education. He is famous for his eccentric characters, gender-bender plot twists and homage to American film genres and D'Lugo, a Clark University professor of Spanish and screen studies, succinctly chronicles his life from modest rural beginnings to his explosion on the Madrid culture scene in the 1980s and subsequent international acclaim. Be it early Super 8 shorts or creating Oscar winners All About My Mother and Talk to Her, Almodvar's forte is exploring the intricacies of sex, death and violence. En route, he has kick-started the careers of Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas, while perfecting his own brand of melodrama. His appeal is traced to what D'Lugo calls his 'geocultural positioning' an ability to transform his marginal status as a gay director from the provinces into a worldwide visual language. 'I try to solve the problem of how to get the big emotion from the audience,' says Almodvar. D'Lugo analyzes his films and influences, and even provides a clever self-interview: Almodvar on Almodvar. For fans and film students alike, D'Lugo's contribution to the Contemporary Film Directors series celebrates the director's camp aesthetic and artistic sensibilities with insight and elan. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In Pedro Almodovar, Marvin D'Lugo offers a concise, informed, and insightful commentary on the man who has become a preeminent force in modern cinema and by far the best known Spanish filmmaker among English-speaking audiences. D'Lugo follows Almodovar's career chronologically as he moves from amateur to international celebrity, analyzing the films' increasing complexity in terms of the director's central themes within the context of Spanish film tradition. D'Lugo considers wide ranging critical sources and develops recognized Almodovar themes in exciting new ways, including his use of melodrama and Hollywood genre film, his self invention as a filmmaker, and his on-screen sexual politics. D'Lugo also discusses what he calls "geocultural positioning": Almodovar's paradoxical ability to use his marginal positions (in terms of his class, geographical origin, and identity) to develop an expressive language that is emotionally recognizable by audiences worldwide. Including two interviews with the director and original interpretations of his most recent films, Pedro Almodovar will reward new film students and specialists alike.