Todo Sobre Mi Madre (1999) (aka All About My Mother)
Pedro Almodóvar

“You are not a human being, Lola. You are an epidemic.”

All About My MotherPedro Almodóvar is nothing short of an icon for feminist cinema. The way how he uses his female characters, their position and responsibility in society, their independence in making decisions – all indicate his support for the equality of the sexes. Todo Sobre Mi Madre (1999) (as mentioned in the titles) is dedicated to all the women in the world and marks a very personal chapter in the canon of Almodóvar.

Manuela is the organ transplant co-ordinator at the local hospital. She lives with her 18-year old son, Esteban who is currently working on a book titled “All About My Mother“. On her son’s birthday, both of them go to the staging of “A Streetcar Named Desire” immediately after which Esteban is run over by a car. Having lost her only motivation for life, Manuela leaves for Barcelona in order to inform her now-transvestite husband Lola (also called Esteban) about the accident. There she meets her old transvestite friend Agrado and another young nun Rosa and settles down in Barcelona till she finds Lola. She also befriends Huma, a stage artist who plays Stella in “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Things take an sharp turn when she finds that Rosa is pregnant and suffering from AIDS because of Lola (again!). She decides to take care of Rosa till her end. After the delivery and subsequent death of Rosa, her parents are unable to take care of the child. Manuela decides to raise the child herself. She returns to Madrid, determined that she will not lose her Esteban for a third time.

Striking direction utilizes a script that was built with utmost care and crafted part by part to near-perfection. Manuela represents the quintessential woman – an actor who plays a number of characters in real life and a mystery who hides all her innermost feelings under her skin. The motif of acting and artificiality of outer self occurs throughout the film. A pleasant mixture of humour and emotion, all the way, won the film the Oscar for the best foreign film in 1999.