Video Essay. Total Design: Pedro Almodóvar’s "Law of Desire" and "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown"

The overall visual design of a Pedro Almodóvar film aims to be total.
Cristina Álvarez López, Adrian Martin
The 32st entry in an on-going series of audiovisual essays by Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin.  MUBI's retrospective, The Art of Transgression: The Cinema of Almodóvar, is showing August 18 – October 19, 2019 in the United Kingdom.
Color is rarely naturalistic or subdued in the films of Pedro Almodóvar. It announces itself, moves the given elements around and plays with them. Set design, costume, and lighting are tightly intermeshed in his style.
The overall visual design of an Almodóvar film does not aim to be subtle or invisible, but it is definitely aims to be total—to take hold of every parameter of mise en scène and performance, every significant object and move in the plot.
Our second audiovisual essay in this three-part series looks at Law of Desire (1987) and Almodóvar’s breakthrough film, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988).

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