Los amantes pasajeros: An Update on Almodóvar’s Trans-Border Cinema

Marvin D'Lugo


Los amantes pasajeros (2013) comes at a difficult moment in Almodóvar’s career, when his cinema appears disengaged from his local Spanish audience and when critics and viewers abroad have responded tepidly to his more recent films. In an effort to repair these audience links, the film mobilizes a dense textual layering and allusions that incorporate into a contemporary comedy Spanish nostalgic tropes from Almodóvar’s past, almost as if the authorial Almodóvar were spoofing an Almodóvar comedy. Characters and dialogue evoke the effervescent years of sexual freedom of the early post-Franco transition, the very years of the filmmaker’s meteoric rise to celebrity. Along with this local address, one of the film’s central aesthetic and cultural premises is the borderless contiguity between Spain and Mexico, the latter serving as a synecdoche for Latin America. Through intertextual associations, the film emphasizes the notion of Almodóvar’s cinema as a trans-border Hispanic phenomenon. It is, in fact, this deterritorialized pan-Latino audience to which his production company, El Deseo and Almodóvar have addressed their attention over the past decade. Los amantes pasajeros thus represents a crucial but illuminating self-referential pause in Almodóvar’s development, a film that underscores the return of his cinema to his Spanish roots in an immediately recognizable way, and which also reminds audiences of the ways his films have moved from their origin as a local Spanish phenomenon to an authentic transnational, trans- border object.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22475/rebeca.v4n1.340

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