"Salvaje primitiva, como vosotros": Race Camp in Almodóvar's Cinema


This article uses the concepts of camp and spectrality to analyze the representation of blackness in three films by Pedro Almodóvar: Entre tinieblas (1983), Tacones lejanos (1991), and La piel que habito (2011). The project demonstrates that, in each film, colonial stereotypes of black hypersexuality and savagery are initially presented as a campy portrayal of Spanish patriarchy, but are then problematically resignified as a symbol of gender and sexual fluidity. However, because the discourse of blackness in the films recreates a triangular, transatlantic relationship between Spain, Africa and the New World, the campy resignification of colonial stereotypes produces a ghostly ambivalence that the films cannot resolve. Instead, the films reveal themselves to be haunted by the memory of slavery and colonialism, thereby calling attention to the contested role that colonialism and its loss have played in the formation of modern Spanish national identity.