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Como ser mujer y no morir en el intento

Ever since her public falling-out with Pedro Almodovar in 1989, Carmen Maura has been struggling to replicate the same kind of box-office success. How to be a woman was the perfect vehicle for her to redirectthe outrageousness of the Almodovar films. Ana Belen’s directorial debut casts her as Carmen, a heroic Everywoman struggling to cope with the dismal reality of the gender gap in contemporary Madrid. She is not taken seriously at the daily newspaper where she works, is taken for granted by her oafish third husband, Antonio (Antonio Resines), and is treated as a piece of furniture by her children. It is the director’s emphatic identification with Carmen’s sharp-witted and increasingly bitter point of view which maintains the film’s critical edge, powerfully juxtaposing Carmen’s cynical predictions with the frustrating fulfilmentof her worst expectations. Her dilemna and emotional vacillationsare humorously and convincingly developed through the four-act seasonal structure of the film, making itan amusing, ambiguous and bitter comedy./

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