Day Four: All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 1999)
Seeing Law of Desire at the World Film Festival in Montreal in ’87 started a life-long love affair with his work. A retrospective at TIFF a year or so later cemented the relationship. I interviewed him just after, in his flat in Madrid, and several times since. I can measure my adult life, where I lived, and the flow of all my important relationship through his films. I cried to this song from Kika for almost a whole year after the break-up of an early long-term relationship which coincided with the film’s release in 1993. On another day I would have chosen another of his films. Today it’s All About My Mother because I saw All About Eve on TV last night. I remember doing a day school at Film House in Edinburgh when the film came out, and watching all these middle-aged, middle-class ladies come in with their House of Fraser bags and thinking ‘shit. How are they going to react to a film with transvestite hookers, nuns dying of AIDS, etc etc.’ Within half an hour the whole audience was as one in tears (and in laughter). It reminded me of Almodóvar’s great ability to get practically any audience to identify with and feel for those whom their society most marginalises and oppresses. It’s a gift he’s not been making much use of recently.