Last night was movie night for me and Zeis. It’s one of our favorite things to do together especially on rainy, chilly nights. Our movie pick of the evening was All About My Mother by Pedro Almodovar. Many of you have probably heard of Almodovar or seen his films but if not, he is considered one of Spain’s most iconic directors. He comes from the Castilla-La Mancha area of Spain. He is part of the movement that took place during the Spanish Transition or Movida Madrilena. This movement came after the country had been under the long rule of the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco. During the “Movida Madrilena” more freedom and liberties were taken among many, especially youth. Creative expression was more visible and we can see much of this in the films of Pedro Almodovar.
Watching Spanish films with Zeis is a real treat for me. I love getting to see and understand things through his eyes. I get to learn little facts and details that I probably wouldn’t have known about and definitely didn’t know about before we met. All About My Mother is a story of motherhood, friendship, women, prostitution, sexuality and among all that the city is intertwined. We get to see the art nouveau and modernism architectural details of Barcelona, floral detailed facades of apartment buildings, stained glass doorways leading to curved wooden staircases. These emblematic details are part of what makes Barcelona, Barcelona. The movie also takes us through some of the small and windy streets as well as the nooks and crannies of Barrio Gotico. There is scene that takes place at Montjuic Cemetery which is an old cemetery that was built into the side of a rocky hill in Barcelona. The cemetery is no longer used for burials but the film gives you a glimpse into what it looks like. Having seen the cemetery for the first time only recently on a drive outside of the city, it definitely made an impression on me and getting to see it in the film made a connection for me. In another scene which takes place at the Hospital del Mar, one can take in the views of the sea. Being able to spot and recognize all these places makes Zeis homesick but makes me appreciate the beauty of Barcelona and the Spain itself.
The music in this film is mainly instrumental but there is one scene where the main character takes a train ride from Madrid to Barcelona. The song is called Tajabone by Ismael Lo, a musician of Senegalese and Nigerian descent. When the train comes out of the tunnel, you are greeted with a panoramic view of the city of Barcelona, Plaza Colon and the Sagrada Familia. It’s a beautiful song and there’s something about the combination of the song and the images that makes you want to be there. All About My Mother is full of emotion that ranges from sadness, happiness and for some homesickness. So until our next trip to Spain, we can always get our fill from an Almodovar movie.