Pedro AlmodóvarSpain88 minutes1988ColourSpanish
A pivotal film in Almodóvar's career, this wildly entertaining farce was the director's first international hit and first film to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Deserted by her long-time lover, the distraught Pepa (Carmen Maura) sets her sights on suicide via pill-laced gazpacho. Before she can follow through, however, she is interrupted by a series of distractions — including a yuppie couple looking to rent her penthouse apartment (Antonio Banderas and Rossy de Palma), the police, a mambo-obsessed taxi driver, a feminist lawyer and Shiite terrorists — that set her on a path from death-wishing vulnerability to strong, self-assured independence. A pivotal film in Almodóvar's career, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was the director's first true international hit, his first film to be nominated for an Academy Award and — thanks to a scaling-back of the shock value his previous works had enthusiastically traded in — the film that began his transition from fringe-y provocateur to acclaimed art-house auteur. "A perfectly realized work by a man of demonic wit and tender sensibility" (The Washington Post).