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Almodóvar, P. Yanof, J.A. (2005). Perversion in La mala educación [Bad education] (2004). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(6):1715-1724.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(6):1715-1724

Perversion in La mala educación [Bad education] (2004)

Review by:
Director Pedro Almodóvar

Judith A. Yanof

Pedro Almodóvar began making experimental films in the movida, the counter cultural underground movement that pushed its way on to the scene in Madrid in the late 1970s at the close of Franco's repressive regime (Economist, 2000). Young artists of the movida embraced sexual freedom and flouted social convention. Staying connected to these roots, Almodóvar has always made movies about characters whose sexual proclivities lie outside the mainstream and who exuberantly challenge our ordinary assumptions about sexuality and gender. In portraying such characters, Almodóvar tends to find what makes them sympathetic, so the audience feels deeply connected to their humanity despite their unusual sexual behavior.

Bad education is one of Almodóvar's darkest films. Its darkness lies in the way power is used and abused, however, rather than in the way unconventional sexuality is portrayed. In this very personal, partly autobiographical movie, the director invites us into his world—the world of his Catholic school upbringing, the world of the cinema, and the world of homosexuality. All of the relationships in the film occur between men or boys. In fact, there are no major female roles. However, homosexuality is not the focus of his exploration; it is the backdrop. It is the sensibility that informs the film. Almodóvar's central focus is on the way people use their sexual relationships to broker power and, in so doing, foreclose the possibility of mutuality and emotional intimacy.

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