Laughing and Crying With Carmen Maura

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Feb 21, 2017

A vibrant mix of melodrama and screwball, Pedro Almodóvar’s eighth feature, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, was the Spanish director’s first to garner international acclaim and an Oscar nomination. Leading the film’s remarkable ensemble cast is frequent Almodóvar collaborator Carmen Maura, who stars as Pepa, a television and voice-over actor who discovers her lover has left her and resolves to kill herself with sleeping-pill-laced gazpacho, only to have her plan interrupted by a series of chaotic events. Like the film, Maura’s performance is a deft combination of comedic and dramatic elements, showcasing her ability to land a joke in one scene and tear up on-camera in the next. In the following clip, excerpted from a program on our newly released edition, Maura describes the challenges of navigating the extremes of these disparate styles.