Review by Choice Review
The label "quintessential Spanish filmmaker," having first described Luis Bu~nuel and then Carlos Saura, has recently been affixed to Pedro Almod'ovar by those critics eager to designate filmmakers and films as "national" products. Vernon and Morris have resisted this facile equation in their important study of Almod'ovar and his widely acclaimed films. In this work the "Spanishness" of the filmmaker and his films is understood within the context of international reception. Each of the ten contributors carefully analyzes one or more Almod'ovar films while engaging with current cultural debates: Marvin D'Lugo traces the trajectory of Madrid, the city-as-postmodern-protagonist, in Almod'ovar's work; Marsha Kinder examines High Heels (1991) within a psychoanalytic framework; Leora Lev argues convincingly that Matador (1986) constitutes a revision of the nationally coded bullfight spectacle; Paul Julian Smith analyzes the spectator positioning in Pepi, Luci, Bom (1992) and Dark Habits (1984). Rounding out this impressive volume are an intelligent introduction, two dozen photos, a filmography, and a bibliography highlighting the US critical reception of Almod'ovar's films. Theoretically sound and eminently readable, this work will appeal to scholars and aficionados alike. All academic libraries. A. M. Stock; College of William and Mary
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