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All about Spain: transplant and identity in La flor de mi secreto and Todo sobre mi madre

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This article looks closely at two of Almodóvar’s later films, La flor de mi secreto/The Flower of My Secret (1995) and Todo sobre mi madre/All About My Mother (1999). The director drew part of his inspiration for both screenplays from the work done by the newly formed Organización Nacional de Trasplantes (National Transplant Organization). The article looks at the way that the representation of this organization in the two films overlaps with versions of Spanish identity and the idea of the nation state as a logistically useful and therefore politically acceptable entity. Using models derived from Cultural Studies’ interpretations of transplant narratives, the article reads the inclusion of scenes dealing with organ donation in the two films as indicative of meanings with social gift-exchange dimensions. The article determines what is specific to the practice of Spanish ‘soft presumed consent’ alongside data which place Spain at the top of the league table for organ transplant success and at the bottom of the table for young persons’ road deaths. Other films from Europe and North America with a transplant narrative are considered, compared and contrasted with the Almodóvar examples.
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Keywords: Almodóvar; Organización Nacional de Trasplantes; gift-exchange dimension; heart; nation state; somatization; transplant

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Cardiff

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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