Meeting Almodóvar

Ever since we got to Spain I have seen Almodóvar everywhere. Not Pedro himself, mind you, but all the ‘Almodóvaresque’ characters that populate his films. They may be seen walking down most Spanish street for those who care to notice. Ronda does, at least on the surface, lack his most infamous characters; transvestites, whores and junkies, but closet gay men, Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown, unfaithful spouses, sprinting high heeled divas and townswomen who never shut up are all here in our little village. He may write about La Mancha, but to me, it seems that this entire country is a giant casting session for the Spanish film master:

*A night, a woman hollers to a women leaning out from a balcony two floors above. The latter is seen in silhouette against a living room wall with a gilded framed oil painting, the former is precariously holding a giant cake while continuing her endless tirade.

*In a new suburb, a corpulent farmer-gone-businessman tries to rent out a house with Hallmark virgins and kiddy-porn on the walls. He stands almost a solid meter and a half off the ground, with his potbelly covered by all but the last two buttons of his apple green jacket.

*At the 8-Euro-daily-special restaurant, a waiter in his mid forties. His red pants, impeccably ironed shirt and striped scarf draped dandily around his neck indicate that his mother still does his laundry. In spite of or possibly due to his reluctance to move unless called upon, I am tempted to believe that the old women behind the stove is the lady in question.

*At a thematically decorated restaurant located near Spain’s oldest bullring, a couple and their adult daughter take a table for 10. They look like a Hola magazine photo shoots with a Rioja wine lord. The females have pulled-back hair, discrete pearl earrings, tight mouths and too red lipsticks. The lord himself sports the same bald patch as Franco, whom he likely still wish was in power. The family is joined by a dozen or so other people, dressed like the family, for some illusive hunt. Loud and demanding, they order food a la carte and wine by the bottle, clogging all exits and occupying all staff. An old man limps in to sell his last 4 lotto tickets, but the privileged hunting party does not notice.

*A mid-life woman tries to rent out her house, carefully trying to push the unhinged doors, rusty stove top, and half done tile job aside as she shows the potential tenants from room to unfinished room, promising it will be done by Monday.

Yesterday, the ultimate Almodóvar scene: a stocky little gypsy in the middle of a pedestrian street, playing a Paso Doble, the come-hither music they play during bull fights. His one hand plays the background beat on an electric organ, the other hand plays the trumpet lead. A bit later on, an old man on a bench, observing as he slowly twirl his false teeth in his hands. As days go by, I realize that it may not be simply that Spain and its people are Almodóvaresque. It may be that Almodóvar is simply Spanish…

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