I just watched WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS? again for the first time in several years. It really stands apart in his filmography. Like it's grittier and more realistic. It's really interesting that he made that particular movie at that point in his career because it was such a step forward from the films he had made before it and the movie he made next, MATADOR, took him in a totally different direction, which at least in the case of MATADOR wasn't an improvement. I'm not sure he ever returned to the spirit of WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS? That I can think of, it seems like the closest he ever got to that kind of gritty realism again was in LIVE FLESH... Perhaps this is Almodovar being someone else, Fassbinder or a Neorealist or something, before embarking on his own, more colorful style. It's a strong movie but I'll have to see how it all goes over the next few weeks with the rediscovering Almodovar project.
Actually, Fassbinder is a little off. It reminds me of a lot of European and Mexican movies from the 80s, even Fellini perhaps, but more like something I can't think of. It reminds me of a lot of the movies I watched as a teenager when I was just getting into foreign films. It reminds me of so many things that my mind is swirling as I'm trying to get myself to bed...
I don't think I appreciated some of his movies enough before because I wanted to put them in a specific Almodovar box, like they were all in the vein of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown or something. So I didn't appreciate this one for being more serious and I appreciated Matador too much for being silly. A/A-
In generally unrelated news I saw a movie once that I thought was by Eric Rohmer (or Chabrol?) but am possibly mistaken on that and I can't think of what it was called. It's about a hairdresser and his wife who move to his hometown of Lyons or somewhere with a big cathedral (Chartres?) and she ends up being unhappy or I don't know since I can't remember it so well and I saw it in Germany so it was either dubbed or subtitled in German. It's driving me crazy.