Pedro Almodóvar makes telephones, a mambo taxi, and a burning mattress into delirious plot points and indelible images in his international breakthrough, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
. Melding melodrama with screwball farce, this Academy Award–nominated black comedy secured the auteur’s place at the vanguard of modern Spanish cinema. Continuing Almodóvar’s exploration of the female psyche, the film tells the story of Pepa, an actor—played by the director’s frequent collaborator Carmen Maura—who resolves to kill herself with a batch of sleeping-pill-laced gazpacho after her lover leaves her. Fortunately, she is interrupted by a string of visitors, setting in motion a deliciously chaotic series of events. The filmmaker channeled inspiration by the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Douglas Sirk into his own unique vision, arriving at the irreverent sense of humor and vibrant visual sense that define his work today. With a sensational ensemble cast of early Almodóvar regulars that also includes Antonio Banderas and Rossy de Palma, this film shows an artist in total control of his craft.
- New interviews with director Pedro Almodóvar, actor Carmen Maura, and producer Agustín Almodóvar
- New discussion by film scholar Richard Peña of the film’s impact in Spain and abroad
- An essay by critic Elvira Lindo