Podium: 'Almodovar's Films Offer a National Narrative for Spain' ; from a Lecture by the Professor of Spanish at Cambridge University, as Part of Humanities and Social Sciences Week at Queen Mary, University of London

Article excerpt

Although [Pedro] Almodovar presents TV as a radical alternative to film " as a fate worse than death " his first 15 films are framed through TV. Out of his first 13 features there is only one in which the characters don't watch TV. Television is central to Almodovar's work: 'It is an eye on everyone's life.'

Post-Franco there has been a great reform of Spanish TV with the emergence of regional and commercial channels and an explosion of locally produced quality fiction. Almodovar gives us a hidden history of Spanish TV through his films.

Almodovar shows a range of TV genres through his films: an advert in Pepi, Luci, Bom; slasher footage in Matador; CCTV in The Flower of My Secret; a newsreader's confession to the murder of her husband on live TV in High Heels; and reality TV in Kika. Almodovar covers the range of modes of perception of TV: solitary viewing; family viewing; the hermetic loop of CCTV; public screenings; and shows both the conditions of production and reception.

In High Heels he shows a heightened interest in the apparatus and industry of Spanish television. …