Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
(Mujeres al borde de un ataque de "nervios")

Screening on Film
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar.
With Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano.
Spain, 1988, 35mm, color, 89 min.
Spanish with English subtitles.
Print source: HFA

W is for Women’s Pictures

Mix one part Doris Day–Technicolor frivolity with the melodrama of Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar, shake with an ample portion of screwball comedy, and update the film’s location to Madrid circa 1988—the result is this farcical hit comedy by Pedro Almodóvar. Soap star Pepa (Almodóvar favorite Carmen Maura) is losing her mind because her lover, Iván, is leaving her. Iván’s wife goes on a gun-toting rampage when she finds out. Meanwhile, Pepa’s friend Candela needs a place to hide because she has unwittingly fallen for a Shiite terrorist. At Pepa’s, she meets Iván’s son Carlos (Banderas), whose fiancée has been drugged by Pepa’s Valium-laced gazpacho. Confusing? Absolutely. But how can you resist a film where kindly grandmothers make the nightly news and the mother of a notorious killer endorses detergent?

Part of film series

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Cinema A–Z: Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: Directors A–D

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Movie Love: Almodóvar and His Inspirations

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Harvard Undergraduate Cinematheque