Week 12: All About my Mother

In “The Body and Spain…,” Acevedo-Munoz writes about Almodovar’s focus on deconstructing traditional notions of gender, family, sexuality, and identity. I found this particular point by Acevedo-Munoz really interesting on Almodovar’s focus on transvestites and transexuals in his films: “[transvestite and transexual characteristics} emphasize the body itself as a sign of the social contradictions of a country involved in a process of profound cultural transition” (26). Personally, I had always just understood his inclusion of these characters as a part of his transgressive deconstruction of tradition (i.e. nuclear families, heteronormativity). I had never really thought about these characters, and specifically the idea of “transition,” as representations of Almodovar’s view of the state of the nation, but I think that is a salient point. 

I also really enjoyed the discussion on Almodovar’s use of intertextuality. I had seen Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown before seeing Johnny Guitar. However, I recently saw Women on the Verge again after we watched Johnny Guitar in class and was able to pick up on his tactics that I was previously oblivious of. As the reading mentioned, the inclusion of Johnny Guitar seemed to highlight how Joan Crawford’s character and her subversive hyper masculinity were in full contrast to Pepa’s dependence towards Ivan. 

I also found the Crimp piece to be really interesting and important in understanding the presence of the AIDS crisis in this period. He makes a key point early on: “there are, on one hand, the scientific facts about AIDs and, on the other hand, ignorance or misrepresentation of those facts standing in the way of a rational response… AIDS does not exist apart from the practices that conceptualize it, represent it, and respond to it” (3). Crimp’s emphasis on the importance of art’s value in resistance and activism brings to mind Derek Jarman’s film, Blue. In his piece, Crimp addresses the “intractability of the traditional idealist conception of art, which entirely divorces art from engagement in real social life.” I think this statement is really interesting when thinking about a film like Blue which is engaging both artistically and socially. 


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