Cinema and Glory Almodóvar's Aging Journey Through Space, Time, Pain, and Loss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter analyses Pedro Almodóvar's 2019 Pain and Glory as a metaphorical journey of the ageing self. This journey follows the concept of ageing as illness and decline thus triggering the nostalgic act of remembering and recreating an irrecoverable past to overcome the nearness of death. By describing his passage from midlife (crisis) to the third age as the accumulation of ailments and the lack of sexual desire, the protagonist, Salvador Mallo, follows the medicalization of old age. It is only through heroin and cinema that he can get rid of the pain he feels and can'return'to his own'happy'past. The idealization of his (lost) childhood in the poor rural Spain of the early 50s is recreated using bright colours and happy songs and the figure of the mother. In opposition, Salvador's move to Madrid in the 80s is not directly presented on screen. His life there is recalled through two male figures who reappear in the present: Alberto (the star of his film Sabor) and Federico (Salvador's lover in the 80s). The Madrid of the 80s is indirectly depicted through Salvador's play (Adicción) and film Sabor as both the epicentre of Spanish creativity and homosexuality, but also as the space in which drugs killed and destroyed the lives of many. Finally, this study shows how late-life creativity in the film is conceived as a time for recycling memories, and the film itself as the space for recycling Salvador's earlier films to display his global glory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Age/Aging in Popular Culture: Representations in Film, Music, Literature, and Social Media
Subtitle of host publicationRepresentations in Film, Music, Literature, and Social Media
EditorsNicole Haring, Roberta Maierhofer, Barbara Ratzenböck
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783839462423
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • ageing studies
  • gender studies
  • masculinity studies
  • film studies
  • Pedro Almodóvar


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