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Pedro Almodovar's Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella) And Live Flesh (Carne Trémula)

1931 words - 8 pages

Pedro Almodovar, in his recent films Talk to Her (Hable con Ella) (2002) and
Live Flesh (Carne Trémula) (1997), has brought a thoroughly modern
interpretation to the genre of melodrama. These fresh illustrations of human
love, loneliness, frustration and individuality explore the complexity of human
interaction and interestingly, in Talk to Her, the interactions of the sentient
in relation to the insentient. "Nothing is simple," Alicia's ballet teacher
muses in Talk to Her, this statement accurately captures the essential Pedro
Almodovar style.

Both of the works selected for analysis in this essay are melodramas. The word
"melodrama" originated from the Greek root which directly translated means
"music drama". These films do incorporate music to add to the emotional impact
of certain scenes. Examples of this are: (a) in Live Flesh! When Victor is
watching TV in prison and sees Elena and David celebrating David's new career,
there is a close up of Victors face conveying his hurt accompanied by music
in-keeping with Victor's frame of mind. This increases the impact for the
viewers as the music is in contrast with Elena and David's joy. (b) in Talk to
Her the same tense, measured music is used during several scenes to denote their
importance in the narrative (when Benigno is about to speak to Alicia for the
first time, at the beginning of Lydia's last fight and when Marco is rushing to
the prison in an attempt to stop Benigno from taking drastic measures in

The use of intertextuality in these films is also apparent. The newsreel of the
coverage of Victor's birth is significant. Victor's mother appears cold and
restrained compared to the intimacy the audience achieves in the scene prior as
we hear her cries from her labour pains. In Talk to Her the opening and closing
performance art pieces are an outlet for the emotional pain and turmoil which
Marco must grapple with. The silent movie too expresses more efficiently what is
occurring for Benigno on an emotional level than a depiction of the act of rape
could have.

Apart from the use of music, colour is integral to Almodovar's melodrama. In
Live Flesh! the walls of the apartments where the characters live, as well as
the school where Victor and Elena work, are warm and vibrant. The contrast
between dark green and deep reds and mustards provide a cosiness that puts the
viewer at their ease. The hospital in Talk to Her is painted sienna-mustard and
gray-green. Almodovar explains "I wanted to avoid convention. No coldness, no
bluish tones I told Javier (the director of photography for Talk to Her). It's
like their [the characters'] home. I didn't want the spectator to be faced with
an atmosphere of pain or illness. What I wanted to show was the everyday life of
some people who live there."

The use of colour is also instrumental in Pedro Almodovar's pop-art style. The
incorporation of classical Catholic-themed oil paintings in Elena's bedroom and...

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