The recycling of filth: transcultural discourses in the films of Pedro Almodóvar and John Waters

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University of Alabama Libraries

Analyzing the influence of American filmmaker John Waters on the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar and revealing the impact that Almodóvar had on Waters' career reveal a transcultural discourse that exists between these two auteurs. Postmodernism and queer theory provide the most salient theoretical frameworks which explain the vast array of interdependent allusions both directors create when borrowing materials from one another and from a shared pool of filmic works. The application of these two theorems to their films supports the hypothesis that Almodóvar's and Waters' movies mirror one another because of both directors' tendency to allude to similar themes, characters, and other works of cinema to include productions created by one another. Findings from the careful scrutiny of the sources of their shared allusions prove that the parallels that connect their cinema are not coincidental. Instead, this study explicates the deliberate borrowing and reutilization of works that take place between both directors. The most logical conclusion based on the compelling evidence manifested in their works is that Almodóvar and Waters establish a mutual, postmodern, and queer dialog that transcends the cultural differences inherit in their productions. While other critical studies have come to the same conclusion that the works of Almodóvar and Waters share a strikingly similar trajectory, no other investigation thoroughly explains this phenomenon on a case-by-case basis to include the plethora of allusions upon which both directors draw when they reference canonical works both within and outside the sphere of classical Hollywood's influence. In addition to providing the necessary background information required to comprehend the myriad of references that result from Almodóvar and Waters relying upon the implicit meanings of the other directors' works, this analysis specifically traces each allusion Almodóvar makes to Waters and vice versa. The results of the analyses of this study make it clear that despite the cultural differences manifested by filmic artifacts that hail from other cultures, Almodóvar and Waters deliberately plant a carefully constructed system of allusions that inextricably join their own works together. The overriding objective of this dissertation is to extrapolate each allusion and to explain fully its source, meaning, and how it connects movies by both directors. This investigation's detailed analytical approach applied to their extant full-feature length productions clearly establishes a postmodern, queer, and transcultural discourse that unites their works.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Language, Film studies