Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

This fast-paced celebration of hysteria put Almodóvar on the map by joyfully parading his depthless obsession with women – especially the wild ones. Driven to the brink by her married lover, Pepa (Carmen Maura) cries at work, lights her bed on fire, and loads the gazpacho with barbiturates. Her girlfriends don’t fare much better in this melodramatic farce that runs at a constant parody-level soap-operatic pitch. It’s no small coincidence that during filming Carmen Maura grew so angry with the director she outright refused to speak to him. Men drive the women of this movie to crisis – a trash collector, Shiite terrorists, boyfriends, Antonio Banderas – and the women fight back as a series of peculiar coincidences tightens the social fabric of Madrid. “I thought this only happened in the movies,” a cab driver tells Pepa after she has him tail another cab. Yeah yeah, her expression says, but it’s headed somewhere very interesting.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1988, DCP, 88 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!