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
Production
company
Kaktus Producciones Cinematográficas
Tesauro S.A.
Distributed by Cinevista (US)
Release date
  • 25 October 1984 (1984-10-25) (Spain)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
Country Spain
Language Spanish
German
English
French
Box office ESP 116,730,182[2]
(USD$901,508)

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.

Plot[edit]

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 eccentric mother-in-law, a frugal and unhappy woman who hides her madeleine cakes, is another addition to Gloria's household. Cristal, a prostitute who lives nextdoor, is Gloria's best friend. Juani, a dressmaker in the same apartment block, has a daughter with telekinetic powers.

In his taxi Antonio meets the writer Lucas. They connive a plan to make a book with forged letters by Adolf Hitler. Lucas travels to Berlin to meet Ingrid Müller, Antonio's former girlfriend who can help them with this book. The suicidal Ingrid telephones to Antonio. This leads to a quarrel between Gloria and Antonio. When he assaults her in the kitchen, she kills him with a ham leg. Her mother-in-law's lizard Dinero ("Money") is the only witness to the crime. Gloria successfully evades the investigators and is never tied to the murder.

Her mother-in-law moves back to her birth village and takes Toni with her. Gloria, left alone and depressed, wants to throw herself off the balcony. She changes her mind when her son Miguel returns and says he wants to take care of her.

Cast[edit]

  • Carmen Maura as Gloria: housewife and cleaning woman
  • Ángel de Andrés López as Antonio: Gloria's husband, taxi driver and forger of letters
  • Juan Martínez as Toni: their 14-year-old son and drug dealer
  • Miguel Ángel Herranz as Miguel: their 12-year-old son, abused by grown-up men
  • Chus Lampreave as Grandmother: Antonio's mother who lives with them
  • Verónica Forqué as Cristal: prostitute who lives in the same apartment block
  • Kiti Manver as Juani: dressmaker who lives in the same apartment block
  • Sonia Hohmann as Vanessa: Juani's daughter with telekinetic powers
  • Gonzalo Suárez as Lucas Villalba: writer who meets Antonio in a taxi
  • Amparo Soler Leal as Patricia: Antonio's wife
  • Katia Loritz as Ingrid Müller: German woman, Antonio's former girlfriend
  • Luis Hostalot as Polo: Policeman with erectile dysfunction
  • Javier Gurruchaga as Dentist who wants to adopt Miguel
  • Cecilia Roth as Woman in TV commercial
  • Pedro Almodóvar as Playback 'La bien pagá'
  • Tinín Almodóvar as Bank teller
  • Carlitos as Dinero ("Money"): lizard

References[edit]

External links[edit]