The English meaning of the title “Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios” means “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” is a Spanish movie directed by Pedro Almodóvar in 1988. It is a black comedy which won five Goya Awards for the Best Film. It represents the culture based psychology where female usually displayed dramatic outpouring of all the negative emotions and fainting on unusual occasions as in case of a panic attacks. The movie was made just after the transition period in Spain. The Spain was under a long period of repression and censorship that weakened the society. Almodóvar’s tries to cover the patriarchy of the social system, where men hold power and predominate in all roles of society. His work seems too superficial in empowering women. During those years family was expected to perpetuate key element of tradition (Worthen, Lingiardi, & Caristo, 2017). The society was tightly controlled by the political, social and traditional patriarchy, where men had the rights to abolish anything that was out of norm. Thus, the role of women was limited to being a home maker. They had to stay at home, care the children, do cleaning, and supporting their husbands.
The movie highlights the incapacity of men to remain honest in a relationship and every time fails to take responsibility. Men creates problem that demands the change in the mood, behavior and lifestyle of the women. Leaving the women alone, unsupported and fragile on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The lead Pepa Marcos tries all her attempt to avoid the break up with her boy friend Ivan. She is depressed as she is confronting the truth that her boyfriend Iván has just left her. He is leaving for a trip with someone else and wanting Pepa to pack the suit case for him (Ortega, 2019). There are other women in the movie who are also going the same phase in life who meets Pepa at different time in the movie.
There is a scene in which Pepa tries to see a feminist lawyer but the secretary stops her from seeing her as she is busy with a man on phone. The men is the reason for giving the movie in a direction that presents that men are the reason for all decision for women to make. At most of the places in the movie Pepa loses control and blames it to the man in her life. Even thou she is independent and strong her all decisions and actions are dependent on a male character Ivan. The feminist aspect underestimates the women’s power to step further, and evolve in sexual liberation and feminism in Spain. The movie is overweighting this mask and not the reality of the Spain of that time. The construction of femininity which socially imposed femininity falls in the film by the end and makes it clear that women has always been giving men more important than herself, due to the society’s demand (Pellicer-Ortín, & Tofantshuk, 2018). Almodóvar’s women, are highly stylized and self-consciously who reveals the hidden power by breaking the patriarchal surface by the action taken by Pepa. Almodóvar’s tried to stimulate evolution of femininity developing all character strong.
Ortega, V. R. (2019). Trailing the Spanish Auteur: Almodóvar’s, Amenábar’s and de la Iglesia’s Generic Routes in the US Market. In Contemporary Spanish cinema and genre. Manchester University Press.
Pellicer-Ortín, S., & Tofantshuk, J. (2018). Women on the Move: Body, Memory and Femininity in Present-Day Transnational Diasporic Writing. Routledge.
Worthen, M. G., Lingiardi, V., & Caristo, C. (2017). The roles of politics, feminism, and religion in attitudes toward LGBT individuals: A cross-cultural study of college students in the USA, Italy, and Spain. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 14(3), 241-258.