The Greatest films of all time: 78.Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown (1988) (Spain)


While American cinema as an art medium fell with digitalism and special effects in exaggeration and to commercialism initiated by Lucas and Spielberg, and revived only briefly with the subject of Vietnam war on the screen, the cinema in other countries such as Italy and Spain took a life again. Right at the same year of 1988 when Italian cinema revived with “Cinema Paradiso” by Giuseppe Tornatore, the Spanish cinema came to the forefront of world attention with “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown” by Pedro Almodovar. A country going to civil war for freedom and democracy in 1930’s, but defeated by the phalanges leading by the dictator Franco, revolted once again but this time culturally in mid 70s after the death of the dictator.

Raising professionally during this cultural renaissance and interested in experimental theatre and cinema, Almodovar used cinema as a medium to express his and his country revival to freedom. From his first feature debut, “Pepi, Luci, Bom” that he shot in 16mm in 1982 then blew it up into 35 mm feature to his “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown” in 1988 that brought him to the global attention and his last film “Pain and Glory” that just released recently in 2019, Almodovar’s style like his master Louis Bunuel is unconventional, satirical, simultaneously dark and funny, and appealing to everyone from the lay to critical viewers.

Acclaimed as one of the great contemporary filmmakers, Almodovar already has won 2 American academy, 5 British, 6 European, 2 Golden Globes and 9 Goya Awards, 4 Cannes Film Festival prizes. He is a holder of French Legion of Honour in 1997, Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts from the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1999, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, an honorary doctoral degree from Harvard University in 2009, and from Oxford University in 2016, an honorary European Film Academy Achievement id World Cinema award in 2013, the President of 2017 Cannes Film Festival and is scheduled to receive the Honorary Golden Lion from the 76th Venice Film Festival in August 2019.  

Renaissance in Cinema:

As important as the Italian “Neorealism” and French “Avant Garde” movements in cinema in 40’s to 60’s, the revival and renaissance of cinema in Italy and Spain saved this art medium from falling in the oblivion of digitalism and commercialism. Against the dominance of Hollywood over the world cinema with its heavy commercial box office productions that in later years followed by TV, internet and streaming film companies productions, this renaissance to this very day has kept the art of cinema to some degree alive.

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The Greatest films of all time: 78.Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown (1988) (Spain)