Silence, metaperformance, and communication in Pedro Almodóvar's Hable con ella

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Many scenes in Pedro Almodóvar's Hable con ella (2002) include shots of metaperformances such as silent films, dances, television shows, concerts, and bullfights. Spectators often observe passive characters who are in turn observing. By presenting these performances within cinematic performance, Almodóvar highlights our role as viewers of his film and maintains our attention to the questions raised through his characters' actions. The director draws out the periods of time in which spectators watch other motionless spectators or the performance that they are watching. The same lengthening of time occurs when Benigno and Marco interact with the two comatose women, Alicia and Lydia. This study re-examines the role of metaperformances and other cinematic elements, analyzing their significance with regards to communication, silence, and metafictional breaks in Hable con ella. Ultimately, the article demonstrates that slowness and pauses (a metaphorical coma) break narrative continuity and the spectators' trance, thus encouraging us to consciously reflect on the social and moral conflicts at play within Almodóvar's film.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-233
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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