The best Almodovar films from the 80s

If you feel like watching a truly artistic piece of cinema, you can choose from a selection of Pedro Almodovar’s films. The films talk about the problems of people living on the margins of society. Great tragedies and problems of everyday fate are shown.

Pedro Almodovar is a Spanish film director, screenwriter and producer. His films are characterised by melodrama, irreverent humour, bold colours and bright decoration, and complex narratives. His themes include desire, passion, family and identity. Almodovar films took centre stage during the cultural renaissance that followed the end of the Francoist dictatorship.

His first films were characterised by sexual and political freedom. He was awarded the French Order of Honour in 1997 and the Gold Medal of the Spanish Ministry of Culture. Almodovar’s films have won two Academy Awards. He has won five BAFTA Awards, two Emmys, six European Film Awards, two Golden Globes, one Venice Film Festival Award and four Cannes Film Festival Awards.

He was elected an Honorary Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from Harvard University, in addition to an honorary doctorate from Oxford University, for his contributions to the arts.

If you’re up for it and want to see some really good cinema, choose from Pedro Almodovar’s films from the 1980s.



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Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom (1980)

His first feature film was made on a very low budget. It was shot on 16mm film and later remastered on 35mm. The story of the film is based on a comic book he created. Pepi is raped by a corrupt policeman who wants revenge. The film is about the relationship between Lucy, a masochistic wife of the policeman, and Bom, a lesbian punk rock singer.


Labyrinth of Passion (1982)

The story centres on nymphomaniac pop star Sexila, who falls in love with a gay prince. In Madrid, the film captured the spirit of liberation and became a cult film. It is the destiny of the two to overcome their preferences, find each other and live happily ever after. The film was made in the period between the fall of the dictatorship and the emergence of the AIDS epidemic.


Dark Habits (1983)

The film has comic elements, a change from the previous gloomy melodramas. Yolanda is a cabaret singer who finds refuge in a convent after the death of her drug-addicted boyfriend. Each of the nuns harbour a different sin. The film has been the subject of controversy.


What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984)

Gloria is an unhappy housewife who lives with her husband, mother-in-law and two teenage sons. Next door lives a prostitute who is her confidante. Almodovar described this film as a tribute to Italian neorealism. It shows the frustration of women and the breakdown of the family, while talking about problems such as prostitution and child abuse.


Matador (1986)

A film about the relationship between an ex-bullfighter and a murderous lawyer. Both find sexual satisfaction while committing murder. The film was released in 1986 and caused controversy.


Law of Desire (1987)

The film is about a complicated love triangle. Between a gay film director, his transsexual sister and a repressed, obsessed fan. With this film, Almodovar moved away from most cinematic depictions of homosexuals. “This is the key film in my life and career. It deals with my idea of desire, something that is both very hard and very human. By that I mean the absolute necessity of desire and the fact that it is rare that the two desires meet and satisfy”.


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Her first major international and commercial success came with this film. A feminist light comedy with fast dialogue and fast action. Pepa, suddenly abandoned by her boyfriend Ivan, is at the centre of the story. The film was a success in the United States, where it earned $7 million. It attracted the attention of the American public. It confirmed Almodovar as a female director, just like George Cukor and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Almodovar believes that women make better characters.




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