Film helps discuss feminism
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 22:09
Every Saturday at 2 p.m. the Rainbow Center shows a film relating to the LGBTQ community, however this week they showed a Spanish film centered on feminism and women’s post-relationships with men, called “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.”
“Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is a 1988 Spanish film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar and starring Carmen Maura and a young Antonio Banderas. The story is about Pepa, whose lover has just left her for another woman; mayhem ensues as she runs around Madrid trying to see her lover one last time. Even though it is a comedy, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” actually has a lot to say on the unpunished promiscuity of men and their use of women. The lover’s infidelity caused pain for several women, even driving one mad. As more characters appear it is apparent that he is not the only man to take advantage of a woman in this story.
Cristobál Ricardo, a cognitive science major that ran the event, held a discussion about the film lead following the film. Having seen the film in a Spanish Film class, Ricardo wanted to address its “feminist” point of view.
“We don’t see the subtle ways that a relationship between a man and woman can be problematic,” said Ricardo. He added the film “embodies good examples of stereotypical portrayals of feminism” that is not as apparent in society.
Generally “Rainbow Cinema” will show deeper or heavier films than “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” but Ricardo thought it would be good to present something a bit more lighthearted.
“It’s good to show comedies because the discussion isn’t weighed down. We can talk about it more objectively because it’s a comedy,” said Ricardo.
It can be easier to discuss something lighthearted than heart-wrenching, and this film definitely brings its own lighthearted fun for such a serious topic. Another student, Martin Hui, even described it as “very funny and unique humor that we don’t see anymore.”
Of course the film isn’t perfect in its message and at times can even be problematic. In fact a character described as a “feminist” lawyer is specifically problematic.
“The character herself doesn’t embody what we think of feminists,” said Ricardo who brought up the lawyer’s lack of actual “feminist” characteristics.
Another problem being the language of the film; many of the subtitles don’t translate exactly what the characters are saying. There are a few instances where the audience is not given a complete understanding of a situation because the subtitles don’t fully present the line well.
Other than these few issues, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” is aware of the biased relationship between men and women in society. It presents the problems in common heterosexual relationships and does so in a very comedic way.