Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Pedro Almodóvar's Maternal Transplants: From Matador to All About My Mother

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2004), 81, (4), 497–510.

Abstract

Matador (1986) includes a rare moment in which feminism is explicitly referenced in a film by Pedro Almodóvar: the protagonist María Cardenal, who refuses to embody a femininity tied to the maternal and conceived of as abject, is marked off as a 'problem' for feminists. Indeed, in Almodóvar's work feminine identity is inexorably linked to maternity, a tendency that culminates in All About My Mother (1999). Although this film reveals the masochistic suffering underlying traditionally-defined practices of maternal benevolence, it also mobilizes the motif of rebirth to posit caring as a behavior through which self-sacrifice may cycle back to serve self-interest. This new model of 'mothering' may be adopted by all, not just by women; thus All About My Mother exemplifies an 'ethics of care', to remind us that compassionate solicitude is a universally human need, demanding a universally human response.

Matador (1986) incluye una referencia explícita al feminismo, algo insólito en las películas de Pedro Almodóvar: la protagonista María Cardenal, que se niega a encarnar una feminidad ligada a lo materno y concebida como abyecta, se señala como 'problema' para los feministas. De hecho, en la obra de Almodóvar la identidad femenina se vincula inexorablemente con la maternidad, una tendencia que culmina en Todo sobre mi madre (1999). Aunque esta película revela el sufrimiento masoquista que subyace la benevolencia materna (definida de manera tradicional), también maneja el motivo del renacimiento para plantear el cuidado como práctica a través de la cual la abnegación deviene auto-interés. Este nuevo modelo de 'maternidad' puede ser adoptado por todos, no solo por las mujeres; así Todo sobre mi madre ejemplifica una 'ética del cuidado', para recordarnos que la solicitud compasiva es una necesidad humana universal, que requiere una respuesta universalmente humana.

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Martin-Márquez, Susan