Pedro Almodóvar: queer pioneer

Willcock, Alex (2011) Pedro Almodóvar: queer pioneer. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Since the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, Pedro Almodóvar has become an internationally renowned director. Life under the Franco regime was a world away from that depicted in Almodóvar’s cinema. The cinematic world he creates is a lavish one, filled with colour, excess and human passions. Life under Franco’s rule was a stark contrast, the patriarchal figure ruled supreme with strict Catholic values imposed on the people. Homosexuality was illegal and treated as an illness, a factor crucial to Almodóvar’s work as a gay identifying director in Spain.

    Although there are a number of thematic concerns interwoven through Almodóvar’s works, it is his standing as a ‘queer’ director that provides the basis for this dissertation. There are a number of issues tackled, but the central purpose is to discover his place in ‘queer’ cinema, of which I believe him to be a pioneer. Firstly, Chapter I will look at Almodóvar in relation to the movement of ‘New Queer Cinema’ coined in the early 90s for taking a radical and ‘new’ approach to queer. A questioning of Almodóvar’s lack of acknowledgement in this movement follows. Is he the original pioneer? To achieve this, looking at mainly Almodóvar’s early work which came before the ‘New Queer Cinema’ movement proved useful. By analysing his own work alongside academic work written on him I was able to decipher who indeed was the original pioneer.

    Chapter II takes a slightly different approach, looking more specifically at the queer characters in Almodóvar and what they represent, however this all still feeding the major issue of our director as a ‘queer pioneer’. Issues explored are that of gender and performance. I aimed to see how ‘queer’ characters represent gender. Utilising the work of various theorists on Almodóvar alongside those relating to gender, such as Judith Butlers various essays on gender proved extremely useful. Butler largely sees gender as a performance, is this the case in Almodóvar? Different types of ‘queer’ characters convey differing portrayals of 'queer’, however gender is accessed largely through performance, a flexible construct in Almodóvar. Essentially the purpose of this dissertation will be to place prove Almodóvar’s place as a ‘queer pioneer’, exploring the many aspects that make him one along the way.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2012 14:19
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:58

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