How does an understanding of the genre contribute to meaning in All About My Mother?
I am going to discuss the ways in which All About My Mother demonstrates the genre of the melodrama and how it contributes to our emotional response during the film.
First of all to look at how Manuela's character changes throughout different parts of the film. In the melodrama, the focus of the film is a family, which contains many archetypes for the characters to fall into. In the exposition we see her as the devoted mother to Esteban, she cares for him in every way possible, we she her making his food, tucking him in bed at night, worrying about him as he crosses the road alone. However these are all traits that should be acted out on a younger child, indicating straight away Manuela's need to “over mother” at times, and also her need to mother when it is not actually appropriate or necessary. There is a sense of irony with the film, as we see Manuela acting as the grieving woman onscreen, even before the tragedy of Esteban's death. Manuela leaves for Barcelona and assumes the role of the surrogate mother for Sister Rosa, even though she has no real ties or connection to the girl, “over mothering” yet again. However Rosa also falls under tragedy and Manuela becomes the grieving mother once again. Manuela shortly becomes devoted mother for the final time to Rosa's baby, who she names Esteban also. We see Manuela changed between these two character types throughout the entirety of the film, she goes from devoted mother to grieving mother until her “over mothering” attitude becomes useful on an actual child, where we are left to assume everything is fine.
Almodovar seems to place all his characters in a very heightened emotional role, as standard of the melodrama. They are all actresses with complex issues in society, very much like the roles played out in A Street Car Named Desire, which seems to go hand in hand with the film itself. There is a Pregnant HIV positive...