What Have I Done to Deserve This? (film)

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What Have I Done to Deserve This?
Que hecho yo para merecher esto.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Produced by Hervé Hachuel
Written by Pedro Almodóvar
Starring Carmen Maura
Ángel de Andrés López
Verónica Forqué
Gonzalo Suárez
Music by Bernardo Bonezzi
Cinematography Ángel L. Fernández
Edited by José Salcedo
Kaktus Producciones Cinematográficas
Tesauro S.A.
Distributed by Cinevista (US)
Release dates
  • 25 October 1984 (1984-10-25) (Spain)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
Country Spain
Language Spanish
Box office ESP 116,730,182[2]

What Have I Done to Deserve This? (Spanish: ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?) is a 1984 Spanish comedy-drama film by Pedro Almodóvar. The title is sometimes given with an exclamation mark at the end rather than a question mark.

Almodóvar has described his fourth film as a homage to Italian neorealism, although this tribute also involves jokes about paedophilia, prostitution, and a telekinetic child. The film, set in the tower blocks around Madrid, depicts female frustration and family breakdown, echoing Jean-Luc Godard's Two or Three Things I Know About Her and strong story plots from Roald Dahl's Lamb to the slaughter and Truman Capote's A Day´s work but with Almodóvar's unique approach to filmmaking. Carmen Maura has often worked for Almodóvar, she became a synonym for a strong woman and also a gay icon for her role as a transsexual in Law of Desire.


The film is a slice of a housewife's life in 1980s post-Franco Madrid: Gloria lives in a small and cheap apartment with husband and two teenage children: the declared homosexual Miguel, whom she sells to the dentist, and the drug-dealing Toni. Her husband, Antonio, longs for a German woman for whom he was a chauffeur in Germany before he married Gloria.

Gloria's mother-in-law, a frugal and unhappy woman who hides her Magdalena cakes and desperately wants to move back to her native countryside, is another addition to Gloria's household. Cristal, a prostitute who lives next door, is Gloria's best friend.

When Gloria's husband assaults her in the kitchen, she accidentally kills him after hitting him with a ham leg. Her mother-in-law's lizard, Money, is the only witness to the crime. Gloria successfully evades the investigators and is never tied to the murder. There are many subplots intertwined with the main narrative with characters including a writer, his beauty-obsessed wife and an impotent policeman frustrated by his lack of sexual power.



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