8. The Ethics of Oblivion

Personal, National, and Cultural Memories in the Films of Pedro Almodóvar

  1. Marvin D'Lugo and
  2. Kathleen M. Vernon
  1. Adrián Pérez Melgosa

Published Online: 21 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118325360.ch8

A Companion to Pedro Almodóvar

A Companion to Pedro Almodóvar

How to Cite

Melgosa, A. P. (2013) The Ethics of Oblivion, in A Companion to Pedro Almodóvar (eds M. D'Lugo and K. M. Vernon), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118325360.ch8

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 FEB 2013
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405195829

Online ISBN: 9781118325360



  • Almodóvar;
  • ethics;
  • films;
  • makeup;
  • narrative arrhythmias;
  • rhopography;
  • transformative idea of memory


This chapter researches the articulation of a transformative idea of memory in Almodóvar's films: a theory of memory profoundly based on the workings of narrative knowledge, on the weaving of stories that attempt not only to heal the devastating effects of trauma on its victims, but also of stories that manage to steal away from the perpetrators the power to decide over the actual meaning of the traumatic event they inflicted upon others. Recent theorizations of the cultural and political dimensions of trauma have attempted to explore the connections between its personal and social dimensions. Closely related to thematization of the rhopographic object is the often-noted centrality that accessories and decoration play in Almodóvar's films. Clothing, makeup, accoutrements, hairstyle, and decoration, appear, at first sight, to dictate, more than indicate, the personality and behavior of most of his characters.