High Heels

Pedro Almodóvar, Spain/France, 1991, 112 minutes

In Madrid, famous singer Becky del Paramo and her daughter Rebeca are reunited after fifteen years. Rebeca's husband, the owner of the television station for which she's a newsreader, is an old flame of Becky's and is also having an affair with Rebeca's co-presenter. When he is murdered, Judge Dominguez finds himself faced with three suspects...

Sounds complicated? It is, but High Heels is a film that's worth the concentration. For anybody who has never seen an Almodóvar film, it's refreshingly different from anything we habitually see on our screens. The bold colours evoking the hot sun and the bizarre humour bear the distinctive Almodóvar hallmark. Some of his earlier films had rather dubious premises: I could never bring myself to laugh at a rape so graphically described as in Matador, whatever the circumstances. With High Heels however, there is just the right balance of humourous and serious, without it being possible to class it as either.

Almodóvar is often labelled a "woman's director". It's said that he has a particular understanding of women. I'm sceptical myself, but it's true that the men in High Heels are little more than cameos: the really interesting roles are for women. It's this kind of inclusion ofn women in leading roles (and not just a victim/wife/prostitute/love interest) that will eventually do more for equality in the cinema than supposed "women's movies" like Thelma and Louise.

Review by Catherine Thompson
Taken from EUFS Programme 1992-93