Ana María Sánchez-Arce
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Still lives
Hable con ella
in The cinema of Pedro Almodóvar
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Almodóvar’s cinema shows the ability of cinematic language to build alternative worlds that conceal as much as reveal. His films are full of secrets and ellipses, which correspond to what in literature has been described as poetic diction. This chapter looks at how poetic techniques are used to equivocate and undermine spectators’ assumptions. These techniques are employed to comment on the (sometimes misused) power of cinema and storytelling. In considering Hable con ella’s formal aspects, the chapter explores the controversy that the film generated due to one of the main characters’ rape of a female patient, showing how sexual violence is a narrative tool that Almodóvar frequently uses in relation to national trauma and how point of view and equivocation techniques are used by both film and character to mislead. Much like Nabokov’s Lolita, this film’s virtuosity lies in its implication of viewers in criminal activity.

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