Tragedy in Talk to her
In recent times scholars like George Steiner or Stefan Hertmans have declared the ‘death’ or ‘silence’ of tragedy. Maybe not of all tragedy, but at least of “pure” tragedy. However, plays by Eugene O’Neill or Arthur Miller, as well as films by Woody Allen or Clint Eastwood can still put such bold statement in question. In this essay I will explore the nature of tragedy and look into the differences that separate this genre from melodrama in order to then apply such distinction on Almodóvar’s allegedly most tragic film: Hable con ella.
Almodóvar himself has declared in a TV interview that, as he is reaching maturity, he is charging his screenplays with more and more drama, and that he deliberately utilizes “hardcore” drama to reach deep in people’s emotions. He also considers that no matter how dramatically charged his films are, there is always a part of comedy in his work, using the word “dramedy” to describe it. The critique has coined the neologism “almodrama” to define Almodóvar’s overall style, although it would traditionally be defined simply as melodrama or drama of emotions, and only in certain aspects as tragedy.
As Woody Allen, Almodóvar can’t refrain from including humoristic references even in his most serious work. That is what Oliver Taplin would call light-dark effect, which allows tragedy to accommodate some geloion ‘amusing’ elements as “a kind of chiaroscuro to set off the surrounding dark”. Comedy and tragedy are permeable to each other’s characteristics, and comedy can say plenty that is serious too, as it happens in many of Almodóvar’s and Allen’s comedies.
Since tragedy is traditionally taken as a genre of reference for its high style and formal strengths, it is important to begin with laying out the circumstances that allow (or hinder) its flourishing:
“The cause of the disappearance, in Greek culture, was, Nietzsche argues, the rise of the ‘Socratic spirit’, which ‘considers knowledge to be the true panacea and error to be radical evil.’ Ever since Socrates, ‘the dialectical drive toward knowledge and scientific optimism has succeeded in turning tragedy from its curse’. Tragedy ‘could be reborn only when science had at last been pushed to its limits, and, faced with these limits, been forced to renounce its claim to universal validity’”.
Almodóvar’s cinema is in many senses beyond the scientific optimism and positivism that modernity brought about, therefore it is somewhere close to the context Nietzsche considered adequate to for tragedy to flourish. His art has been considered from postmodern to deconstructionist, and it has blurred the traditional limits of gender and religion, although sometimes he seems to do that frivolously, as if preparing a conceptual gazpacho.
In relation to the limits of positivistic knowledge and the possibility of tragedy, George Steiner considers that “the mythological matter of the tragic draws on the dynamics of the supernatural. No Hamlet without its Ghost; no Macbeth without Witches; no Phèdre outside the vengeful reach of an afterlife’. The external uncontrollable forces render de hero defenseless against the superior force of destiny (die Ubermacht des Schickals), and when such defeat is arranged by fate, it is “his freedom, his lucid compulsion to act controversially, what determines the substance of the self’. In Hable con ella we find these circumstances, particularly in Benigno, who has the intuition of a higher power that does perform miracles. The contradiction lays in the fact that he has no tragic magnitude as a character and his actions give himself away, as I will argue further on. He is in the right context for tragedy, but doesn’t have the right characteristics for it.
From a moral perspective modernity is agnostic in its essence, there is no higher power eventually punishing us if we do evil or fall into hubris, and such loneliness in a demythologized world difficults the possibility of tragedy. In The silence of tragedy Stefan Hertmans builds on Steiner’s thesis of The death of tragedy according to which tragedy practically disappeared after the French Revolution because of the optimism for the technological progress, the Romantic eagerness for sovereignty and the Christian liberation. Hertmans points to irony as one of the main causes that explain the ‘death’ or ‘silence’ of tragedy: “Tragedies are not possible anymore because our reasoning has changed from sacred to ironic: we can make things relative, we consider an event tragic as an evolution of which men are guilty, not as a superior fatality. We think horizontally and by causal effect, not vertically and sacredly. We firmly believe in the relativity of truth; such is our antisacral sacrality”. However, Hertmans talks about silence (not death) of tragedy because he has the less pessimistic intuition that tragedy is still possible if the right elements are put together in the right context. We have to recognize that Almodóvar has the capacity of creating the appropriate context and atmosphere for tragedy in Hable con ella, but his characters and plot structure are not adequate for that genre.
Continuing with his argument, Hertmans considers that in our times “there is no external objectivity anymore, as it existed in the mythical age. Everything has turned into internal subjective world; mankind is confronted against its own limits, not in a mythical unachievable universe. This hostile universe will be called from now on… Self”. Therefore, miracles can only happen from within. There is no place for magic, or even transcendence. Benigno is the example of a person who actually wants to believe, but doesn’t know in what. When his coworker tells him that it is useless to keep everything always in place (in case Alicia woke up), he doesn’t accept fate and still expects the supernatural:
Rosa: Después de cuatro años en coma, sería un milagro Benigno.
Benigno: Pués yo creo en los milagros. Y tú deberías creer también.
Rosa: (Sorprendida) ¿Por qué yo?
Benigno: Porqué estás muy necesitada de ellos, y a lo mejor te ocurre uno y como no crees pues no te das ni cuenta.
The kind of faith that we observe here doesn’t have an object; it is generic. Although we haven’t seen Benigno perform any religious act in the film, he remains obstinate and faithful to his own obsessions. What he professes is more of a desire for faith than a real faith. That is, a utilitarian rather than an existential faith. But not everybody is able to believe in her or his own desires in Talk to her:
Apoderado: Hay que tener fe
Hermana: ¿Fe?… ¡¡Yo sigo poniéndole velas a los santos, pero me cuesta mucho tener fe!!
Here Almodóvar may be trying to tell us that the difference between Lydia and Alicia is that Alicia is saved because there was someone who deposited true faith on her recovery. The desire (el Deseo) which is so important in Almodóvar’s weltanschauung, has the power of influencing reality, a dangerously kitsch idea that is recurrent throughout his work. In any case, the key factor is that the object of faith is never presented as something existing by its own right. In such relativistic spiritual context, faith is purely a matter of subjective (somehow ironic) choice.
In the introduction of the screenplay of Talk to her Almodóvar explains how he found inspiration for the film in a real event in which a woman woke up from a coma after 16 years when it had been scientifically proven impossible. That very same case is exposed by the doctor when Marco asks him if there is any hope for Lydia. Beyond of the kitschy idea that believing in miracles makes them come true, it is worth noting that here Almodóvar leaves space for the failing of science, for a blurring of the limits of positivism, as the gender limits have been blurred in other occasions in his work. Another example of that is the ending of All about my mother, in which the newborn miraculously rids himself from AIDS immunodeficiency.
So far I have considered tragedy in pure (almost transcendental) terms, but it has already been pointed out that in Almodóvar’s case tragedy is not mend to be pure. It would be too long and complex to dwell into the origins of tragedy in Athens V century B.C. and even more to extensive to retrace the history of this genre through Seneca, Shakespeare or Racine, but in this occasion it will be useful to take into consideration Robert Heilman’s classical distinction between tragedy and literature of disaster:
“In tragedy, as an art form, we contemplate our own errors; in the literature of disaster, we mark the errors of others and the flaws of circumstance. In tragedy we act; in the literature of disaster, we are acted upon. We court trouble if we call the literature of disaster tragedy, for when we do that, we implicitly equate all unhappiness with what is done to us, and in so doing we make it easy to lose awareness of what we do”.
In Talk to her, as in so many other Almodóvar films, his use of coincidence both in personal relationships and factual events makes is come closer to literature of disaster than to tragedy. Lydia’s bullfight cogida, Alicia’s car accident or Manuela’s son other car accident in All about my mother are just few examples of that.
The nature of melodrama differs from tragedy inasmuch as it always expects a happy ending to take place, regardless of if it does or does not occur. It is a drama of emotions because it appeals to the spectator’s hopes, whereas tragedy has a closed atmosphere: “In a wider philosophical sense, melodrama fundamentally engages the desire for reversibility and change, enabling alternative endings where tragedy presents causal inevitability”. From a schopenhauerian perspective, Benigno’s character is tragic because his ‘original sin’ was having had the kind of mother he had. In broader terms, his sin is his mere existence, the guiltless sin of having been born. Sophocles said that: “Not to be born may be the greatest boon of all”, perhaps that explains the psychoanalytic fixation for returning to the womb in a desperate attempt to avoid the sin of existing and all the potentially negative consequences it brings about. In a certain way, that is a very soft version of the suicide that Benigno will end up committing. A return to the original sin is therefore presented as a return to the mother (Eve). But Benigno doesn’t seem to be aware of the sins inherent to his existence until they are pointed out:
Benigno: ¿Es que no estoy bien, doctor?
Psiquiatra: No, hombre. Pero has tenido una adolescencia digamos… especial
Benigno: ¡Tampoco tan especial!
Psiquiatra: Sí, sí. Muy especial.
Benigno: ¡Bueno, lo que Vd. Diga!
In The Bad Education we are left with the same question: Would Ignacio have had the same tragic ending had he not studied with Padre Manolo? Regarding this question, it is helpful to be reminded that “tragedy has its roots in man’s efforts to escape his destiny, and its conclusion in his reunion with destiny”. Such definition is very much related to the classic motto “character is destiny”, which is usually well applied in Almodóvar’s films. His characters tend to have their destiny determined by their own personality, rather than by the circumstances of their life. In his usual revisions of childhood, Almodóvar often finds a seed of the character’s evolution in their reaction to certain ‘accidents’, as it happens with Becky in High heels, with Ignacio in La mala educación and probably with himself as a character too.
Up to here I have tried to put Talk to her in relation to specialized scholarship on the nature of tragedy. However, as Robert Allinson points out, there is still a lot of work to be done on the relationship between tragedy and film, and he tries to do that specifically with the manchego director. In his essay Mimesis and Diegesis. Almodovar and the Limits of Melodramahe declares that his intention is “to demonstrate that while much of All about my Mother can be explained by the legacy of melodrama, Talk to Her, while retaining many melodramatic features, goes beyond the limits of melodrama to something approaching the tragic”. According to him, the specific feature that differentiates one movie from the other is that Talk to Her “prioritizes diegesis over mimesis” and by depriving the characters to act out their dramas, it condemns them to telling and retelling their stories.
Aside from the formal characteristics that can relate Almodóvar’s films to tragedy, there is a clear relationship with this genre through psychoanalysis. Not only because of the omnipresent Oedipus/Electra complexes, but particularly through the cathartic effect of telling stories. Freud, Breuer, Lacan among others share the idea that storytelling is healing because it helps impose a new shape on a reality that is escaping us. In psychoanalysis the creation of language helps structure the patient’s world and the search for the right vocabulary is particularly necessary to work out the traumatic memories of the past, as well as to face life-changing experiences such as the unexpected accidents in Almodóvar’s films.
According to Allinson, “this therapeutic concept is, of course, a modern application of the notion of catharsis as applied originally to tragic drama. Talk to Her, in its emphasis on noncomunication and in its more acute ethical dilemmas, moves beyond melodrama, as I have been arguing, to something closer to tragedy”. In this sense, catharsis is not experienced directly by the audience, but first and foremost by the same characters in the film. In one of his classic self-referential experiments, Almodóvar makes the audience of Talk to her go through a contained catharsis in a staged talk show. Filming live on the set, Loles León tells Lydia that she should talk about her sentimental problems in order to transform them into something she can deal with: “Pero hablar es bueno, mujer. Hablar de los problemas es el primer paso para superarlos” and later on: “¡Yo comprendo que es difícil, pero tienes que luchar, tienes que enfrentarte a los hechos y contárnoslos con pelos y señales y, hasta que no lo hagas, no serás una mujer libre!”. These words are uttered in a context that facilitates irony, since they are talking from a platform where the feelings and emotions are treated like an asset to sell airtime. But isn’t that also what Almodóvar does with some of his melodramatic stories? The difference is a very fine line which in Talk to her is saved by making incomunication between characters central in the film.
Another question related to the genre of this film is that “if we approach Talk to Her as a tragedy, and Benigno as a contemporary tragic hero, where do we find the film’s cathartic value? (…) We can recall Northrop Frye’s association of tragedy with the scapegoat: “a vision of death which draws the survivors into a new unity” (215). As is often the case with the endings of Shakespearean tragedies, the words of those left behind confirm for the audience the lasting positive effects of the suffering just experienced”. However, as Matthew Wright has pointed out, the problem of scapegoat tragedies is that they are out of the cannon of the Poetics and in this discussion a solid definition of tragedy is necessary if we want to be able to compare or draw parallelisms. The scapegoat tragedies are actually the ‘least’ tragic of them, and if we take a solid canonical case study such as Oedipus Rex they could even be discarded as such.
Taking into account Benigno’s scapegoat condition, Allinson considers that the traumatic content of Talk to her stimulates the cathartic response typical of tragedy, as Ajax’s suicide does in Sophocles’ play. In any case, if we wanted to see a tragic hero in Benigno, it would be a diminished one, like the “Shrinking lover”. He doesn’t have enough magnitude, a flaw shared by most men in Almodóvar’s films. He is actually closer to a comic character, one that doesn’t imitate noble people and doesn’t have enough dignity, rather distorted and in many senses disgraceful (Poetics 49a4-49b5). On the other hand, his faith and his interaction with Alicia may be what ultimately saved her, and that being so, such character would clearly belong to the melodramatic genre.
One of my personal problems with Almodóvar’s plot structure is his excessive reliance on coincidence to twist and advance the plot. Notwithstanding, other critics may not be so bothered by his constant use of coincidence, and in fact, they think that it enriches his plots:
“What fascinates me about Almodóvar’s treatment of coincidence is the way he uses it as a narrative gesture that enacts closure and openness simultaneously. The traditional coincidence plot, presented by Aristotle in the Poetics and still considered relevant to narrative theories today, revolves around an interaction between (anagnarosis) and reversal of intention or circumstance (peripeteia)”.
The way coincidence is understood here though, is based on Aristotle’s example of Oedipus Rex (Poetics 52a3-52b6) when Oedipus finds out his involuntary sin and at the same time his fortune changes completely. That kind of coincidence, I agree, can be very effective and doesn’t necessarily have to be artificial, but in Almodóvar’s plots we find so many coincidences that the effect described by Aristotle loses efficacy. A character is only good if her or his actions are good, if the choice is good (Poetics 54b15) and verisimilitude plays a key part in that. This doesn’t mean that actions must be real, but rather realistic, which is the reason why Aristotle considers poetry more philosophical and serious than history (Poetics 51b9). Tragedy occurs when events linked by causal relation come about contrary to expectation, but because of one another (Poetics 52a9). In order for that to happen, the plot construction must have verisimilitude and plausibility, which is something that many Almodóvar films lack.
Part of the press and critique also seems to find Almodóvar’s tendency to overuse coincidence in favor of plot complexity somewhat forced, and his most serious melodramas have even been called “zany” because of that: “Lo que sí que reaparece con una carga negativa es la excesiva atención que otorga al artificio y el efecto desrealizador que imprime en la historia”. The way Almodóvar usually gets away with such cheating is fleeing forward in the story, and he is a true master in that art. That is why after watching the film, the audience usually forgets and forgives how forced and implausible the plot was.
To conclude, I would like to recognize Almodóvar’s capacity for integrating and even expanding on practically any aspect of human experience, no matter how alien it may look a priori. In Talk to her, as in most of his other works “there seems to be very little that is strange in human nature in Almodóvar, and there are hardly any strangers in the film. Even rape, an act of violence, results from intimacy and familiarity, as Benigno seems to completely forget that other people have boundaries and thresholds, private spaces and inaccessible thoughts. It is the fact he is not a stranger to her that allows Benigno to use Alicia’s body without concern for her will or desire, for her difference and separateness”. Almodóvar seems to understand and somehow relate to Benigno’s character, played by Javier Cámara, one of his fetish actors. The name Benigno also reminds of an ironic reference to a type of tumor, which is bad but good at the same time. Here the doors of moral relativism are wide open, a condition that, as Nietzsche famously pointed out in the Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, lays at the origin of tragedy.
Using the pretext “Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto” (I am human, nothing human is alien to me), Publius Terentius has one of his characters interrupt a conversation in his comedy Heauton Timoroumenos. In Talk to her Almodóvar explores the limits of human experience and accepts all its variations no matter how bizarre. In this sense, Almodóvar is in tune with the humility of the tragic spirit and with Miguel de Unamuno’s well known rephrasing of Terentius apothegm at the beginning of El sentimiento tragico de la vida: “Soy hombre, a ningún otro hombre estimo extraño”.
I will finish this essay as I started it: with a reference to Almodóvar’s own words. On the DVD commentary on Talk to her he says that: “nature is amoral itself”. Such statement is, according to Kakoudaki, a way of “connecting Benigno’s actions to natural forces, as he does with Lydia’s and Alicia’s accidents. Almodóvar thus partly absolves Benigno, ascribing his willed actions to the workings not of will, nor of Providence, but of human nature, or even just “nature,” the agent that is closest to fate in Almodóvar’s nondeterministic secular structures”. Such interpretation confirms both the impossibility of tragedy pointed out at the beginning of this essay and the untragic nature of Talk to her. The absence of a higher power and the perfectly random (a)morality that Almodóvar plays with leaves each character confined to itself, hence the incomunication that is permanently haunting their interactions:
Lydia: Marco, tenemos que hablar después de la corrida.
Marco: Llevamos dos horas hablando…
Lydia: Tú, yo no.
Men in Almodóvar are unable to transcend the psychological boundaries of their own mental walls, that is, if any, the tragic essence of Talk to her.
– Allinson, Mark. “Mimesis and Diegesis. Almodóvar and the Limits of Melodrama” in All about Almodovar. A Passion for Cinema. Brad Epps and Despina Kakoudaki Editors. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. 141-165
– Allinson, Mark. A Spanish Labyrinth: The Films of Pedro Almodovar. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.
– Almodóvar, Pedro. Hable con ella. El guión. Madrid: El Deseo Ediciones, 2002
– Almodóvar on Almodóvar. Edited by Frédéric Strauss. London: Faber and Faber, 1996.
– Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. into English by Malcolm Heath. London: Penguin, 1996.
– Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. London: Routledge, 1999.
– Chatman, Seymour. Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film. Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell University Press, 1980.
– D’Lugo, Marvin. Pedro Almodóvar. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006.
– Elaesser, Thomas. “Tales of Sound and Fury: Observations on the Family Melodrama.” in Home Is Where the Heart Is: Studies in Melodrama and the Woman’s Film. Ed. Christine Gledhill. London. British Film Institute, 1987. 43-69.
– Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of Criticism. Princeton. N. J .: Pinceton University Press, 1957
– Green, André. “The Psychoanalytic Reading of Tragedy” in Tragedy. Edited and Introduced by John Drakakis and Naomi Conn. Essex: Addison Wesley Longman, 1998.
– Heilman, Robert Bechtold. Tragedy and Melodrama. Versions of Experience. Kingsport: University of Washington Press, 1968.
– Hertmans, Stefan. El silencio de la Tragedia. Trans. into Spanish by Julio Grande. Valencia: Pre-Textos 2009
– Jordan, Barry and Allinson, Mark. Spanish Cinema. A Student’s Guide. London: Hodder Arnold, 2005.
– Kakooudaki, Despina. “Intimate Strangers. Melodrama and Coincidence in Tal to Her” in All about Almodovar. A Passion for Cinema. Brad Epps and Despina Kakoudaki Editors. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. 193-238
– Krook, Dorothea. Elements of Tragedy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969.
– Mandel, Oscar. A Definition of Tragedy. New York: New York University Press, 1961.
– Markus, Sasa. La Poética de Pedro Almodóvar. Barcelona: Lottera Books, 1998.
– Martínez-Carazo, Cristina. Almodóvar en la prensa de Estados Unidos. València: Publicaions de la Universitat de València, 2013.
– Méjean, Jean-Max. Pedro Almodóvar. Barcelona: Ma Non Troppo, 2007
– Mulvey, Laura. Visual and Other Pleasures. London: Macmillan, 1989.
– Leech, Clifford. Tragedy. London: Methuen & Co, 1969
– Post-Franco, Postmodern. The Films of Pedro Almodóvar. Edited by Kathleen Vernon and Barbara Morris. London: Greenwood Press, 1995
– Resina, Joan Ramon. Burning Darkness. A Half Century of Spanish Cinema. SUNY Press, 2008.
– Smith, Paul Julian. Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodovar. London: Verso, 2000.
– Smith, James. Melodrama. London: Methuen & Co, 1973
– Steiner, George. The Death of Tragedy. London: Faber and Faber, 1961.
– Steiner, George. Antigonas. La travesía de un mito universal por la historia de Occidente. Trans. into Spanish by Alberto Bixio. Barcelona: Gedisa, 2009.
– Steiner, George. “Tragedy, Pure and Simple” in Tragedy and the Tragic: Greek Theatre and Beyond edited by Silk, M. S. New York: Claredon Press. pp. 534-546.
– Taplin, Oliver. “Comedy and the Tragic” in Tragedy and the Tragic edited by Silk, M. S. New York: Claredon, 1996. 188-202.
– De Unamuno, Miguel. Del sentimiento tágico de la vida. Madrid: Akal Ediciones, 1983.
– Williams, Linda. “Melancholy Melodrama. Almodovarian Grief and Lost Homosexual Attachments” in All about Almodovar. A Passion for Cinema. Brad Epps and Despina Kakoudaki Editors. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. 166-193
– Williams, Raymond. Modern Tragedy. Stanford: Stanford Universtity Press, 1966
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoTsayE0OAk (1994)
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap133GoAKlg (2009)
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap133GoAKlg (2009)
 An example of the opposite would be the interview with Conan O’Brian in 1994 about Kika: “In this movie there is rape, there is murder, yet it’s a comedy… How do you do that?”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoTsayE0OAk (1994)
 Taplin, Oliver. “Comedy and the Tragic” in Tragedy and the Tragic edited by Silk, M. S. New York, 1996. 188-202. p. 189
 Williams, Raymond. Modern Tragedy. Stanford: Stanford Universtity Press, 1966. p. 41
 Steiner, George. “Tragedy, Pure and Simple” edited by Silk, M. S. in Tragedy and the Tragic: Greek Theatre and Beyond. New York: Claredon Press. p. 543
 Steiner, George. Antígonas. La travesía de un mito universal por la historia de Occidente. Trans. into Spanish by Alberto Bixio. Barcelona, 2009. pp. 16-17
 Hertmans, S. El silencio de la Tragedia. Trans. into Spanish by Julio Grande. Valencia, 2009.
 Steiner, G. 1980.
 Hertmans, S. p. 246
 Hertmans, S. p. 252.
 Almodóvar, Pedro. Hable con ella. El guión. Madrid: El Deseo Ediciones, 2002 p. 47
 Almodóvar, P. p. 65
 Ibid. p. 9
 Heilman, Robert Bechtold. Tragedy and Melodrama. Versions of Experience. Kingsport: University of Washington Press, 1968. p. 32
 Kakoudaki, Despina. “Intimate Strangers. Melodrama and Coincidence in Tal to Her” in All about Almodovar. A Passion for Cinema. Brad Epps and Despina Kakoudaki Editors. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. p. 208
 Alodóvar, P. p.106
 Heilman, R. p. 153
 Allinson, Mark. “Mimesis and Diegesis. Almodóvar and the Limits of Melodrama” in All about Almodovar. A Passion for Cinema. Brad Epps and Despina Kakoudaki Editors. University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis. 2009.
 Allinson, M. p.144
 This has been studied by Linda Williams, for example, in relation to the film High Hills and its “innovative” way of presenting a negative Oedipus complex in the character of Rebeca. Williams, Linda. “Melancholy Melodrama. Almodovarian Grief and Lost Homosexual Attachments” in All about Almodovar. A Passion for Cinema. Brad Epps and Despina Kakoudaki Editors. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. 166-193
 Allinson, M. p. 145
 Almodóvar, P. p. 30
 Ibid. p. 32
 Allinson, M. p. 162
 Wright, M. Euripides’ Escape-Tragedies. A Study of Helen, Andromeda and Iphigenia among the Taurians. Oxford, 2005.
 Kakoudaki, D. p. 200
 “Almodóvar’s convoluted structures, coincidence-filled stories, and fine mix of unpredictability, randomness, and propensity for high melodrama as “zany”, a term that rightly annoys film critics” Kakoudaki, Despina. p.197
 Martínez-Carazo, Cristina. Almodóvar en la prensa de Estados Unidos. València: Publicaions de la Universitat de València, 2013. p. 72
That is actually an accepted convention taught as a technique for plot elaboration in film schools.
 Kakoudaki, D. p. 232
 De Unamuno, Miguel. Del sentimiento tágico de la vida. Madrid: Akal Ediciones, 1983. p. 57
 Kakoudaki, D. p. 227