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Un/framing identity: Space and colour in Pedro Almodóvar’s Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón/Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom (1980)

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Pedro Almodóvar’s Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón/Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom (1980) is considered by many critics as a chronicle of the Movida madrileña, a social and cultural renaissance that materialized shortly after the death of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975. Despite the film’s much-discussed underground beginnings and prioritization of alternative and once-marginalized social groups and sexual practices, less frequently discussed is Almodóvar’s questioning of the dichotomy between institutionalized and alternative social identities in post-authoritarian Spain. Through his use of negative and positive space, terms akin to background and foreground, Almodóvar demonstrates how, just as bodies can be individualized and semanticized, they can be de-scribed of meaning, de-individualized and banalized. Almodóvar’s manipulation of space reveals the film-maker’s agenda to not only neutralize and critique the uniformity of stereotypical and traditional Spain but to do so with all collectivities, including those as cutting-edge as those of the Movida. In this way, Almodóvar’s film proposes a visually utopian agenda whereby social differences are impossible to fix and social hierarchies impossible to maintain.
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Keywords: Madrid; Movida; Pedro Almodóvar; Spain; colour; space

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Harvard University

Publication date: September 1, 2016

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