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Director Focus: Pedro Almodovar

Course Times & Enrolment

Mondays from 15th January 2024 (Code FM094-201) Mondays from
15th January 2024 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
LG49 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: David M. Wingrove AB (Magna) MA BFI Cert
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Arguably the most famous Spanish artist since Picasso, director Pedro Almodovar has entranced audiences and critics around the world. A highly sophisticated blend of classic Hollywood, European art-house and popular Spanish cinema, his work demands a closer look. We will explore his films and their roots in film history and Spanish culture.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No prior knowledge required.

Special Information

Guidance will be provided during class on where and how to access the discussed films.

Content of Course

This course will trace the development of Almodovar’s style from its three main sources: classic Hollywood films of the Golden Age, post-war European art films and the popular cinemas of Spain and Latin America. We will consider the unique backdrop of Spain in the years after Franco: Madrid and La Movida, the explosion of queer and transgender identity, but also the enduring power of rural traditions and the Roman Catholic Church. We will consider the role of camp, melodrama and pastiche and the underlying seriousness of this outwardly most frivolous of directors. This is, above all, a cinema of contradictions.

Teaching method(s)

A mixture of lectures and group discussions. Each session will include film clips by Almodovar, with relevant clips by other film-makers for comparison. Feedback on students’ progress and understanding will be provided during in-class discussions.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the characteristics of some of the key cinematic traditions.
  2. Trace the impact of all these traditions on the work of Pedro Almodovar.
  3. Show some familiarity with notions of post-Modernism, pastiche and cultural reinvention.
  4. Discuss cinema within a national, a European and a global context.


Core Readings

There is no essential reading. The recommended titles below may be of interest to students, but there is no expectation to purchase any of these books.

  • Sanchez-Arce, A. M. (2022) The Cinema of Pedro Almodovar. Manchester University Press.
  • Allinson, M. (2001). A Spanish Labyrinth: The Films of Pedro Almodovar. London: I B Tauris.
  • Epps, B. and Kakoudaki, D. (eds.) (2009) All about Almodovar: A Passion for Cinema. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Strauss, F., (ed.) (2006) Almodovar on Almodovar (Revised Edition). London: Faber & Faber.

Films (available in the UK):

  • Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980)
  • Labyrinth of Passion (1982)
  • Dark Habits (1983)
  • What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984)
  • Matador (1986)
  • The Law of Desire (1987)
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
  • Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989)
  • High Heels (1991)
  • Kika (1993)
  • The Flower of My Secret (1995)
  • Live Flesh (1997)
  • All about My Mother (1999)
  • Talk to Her (2002)
  • Bad Education (2004)
  • Volver (2006)
  • Broken Embraces (2009)
  • The Skin I Live In (2011)
  • I’m So Excited (2013)
  • Julieta (2015)
  • Pain and Glory (2019)
  • The Human Voice (2020)
  • Parallel Mothers (2021)

Web Sources

Senses of Cinema – Pedro Almodovar by Steven Marsh


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.