Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pedro Almodóvar: Entre Tinieblas / Dark Habits (1983)

Zooming in to the goings on inside a small convent, Pedro Almodóvar's Entre Tinieblas / Dark Habits (1983) shows that people often opt to become (or remain) more interesting than the limitations of their social functions. In other words, nuns may be rebels, artists, romantics, gardeners or addicts as well as servants to their order -- just like anyone else. 
I tend to enjoy movies (and any other kind of stories) about nuns and priests and so forth, and I dig Almodóvar, so this one works well for me. As a Catholic, I don't find Entre Tinieblas sacrilegious at all. So what if the Mother Superior is a romantic with a fondness for drugs and "bad girls?" If you substitute good food and drink or sports or smoking or whatever else you wish into the equation, doesn't everybody who can enjoy such pleasures?

Dark Habits isn't a comedy, exactly, nor is it a satire, nor a drama -- though it has touches of all; nor does it have wacky pacing. Rather, we have time to meet all the main characters, discovering what drives them but also what keeps them in place. Above all, though, change is in the air coming from multiple directions, so none of them can remain in their present station forever. Life is exactly like that, over time.
Here's my attempt to chart out the various social connections embedded in the Dark Habits storyline. Three of the characters are spectral presences only (Yolanda's boyfriend, the Marquis and Virginia, his daughter). Three types of written documents tighten the plot: a diary, a letter and several popular fact-based novels ghost-written by one of the nuns. 
Today's Rune: Wholeness. 


the walking man said...

Did you ever go to Catholic School, old time Catholic school with the nuns in wimples and habits and the ever present razor edged wooden ruler? O good lord...even in regular clothes nuns still scare the hell out of me, just like clowns do other people.

Luma Rosa said...

Hi, Erik!
Here in Brazil is called "Maus Hábitos" (Bad Habits), a title that induces the viewer to think lightly about bad habits that perhaps the nuns may have.
The film has two phases. The first more anarchic, less mature, more rebellious, with less intellectual influence of Buñuel, the use of good-natured blasphemy and scandal as a way to combat Catholic conservatism. The experience of Christ is lived in the manner of the English poet William Blake, do not you think?
The Almodóvar today is more libertarian. He has changed, it is likely that Spain has also changed. Romantic illusions - his most frequent subject - are not, in that sense, very different from hallucinations or delusions policies. The world for Almodóvar, it can be hell or paradise, whatever. What is certain is that it is artificial.

t said...

Your handwriting :) neat and nice. Nobody writes anymore :)

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks all, for the comments. Walking Man, I hear ya. Public grade school had some nasties, too, handy with a ruler.

Luma, cheers ~! Thanks for the "take" on Almodóvar, Buñuel (another favorite) and William Blake. By coincidence (synchronicity?) I was pondering Blake at the same time you wrote this, or thereabouts, and still am. t., cheers, too ~~!

jodi said...

Erik, I, too am fascinated with nuns and such. Did you see 'Agnes of God'? Awesome!