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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 61-62 | volume XI | July-October, 2008



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 61-62July-October, 2008
Essays

Absent Fathers

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p. 1
Jasna Koteska

One of the most important elements of the pop culture today is the picture of the “absent” father as the “carrier of good”.
    The father has to tell his children where the brutality of the system lies.

1.
    In Almodóvar’s new film “Volver” (2006) there are no men. Even more dramatically, there are no fathers. There is a scene at aunt’s funeral when there is a group of men standing petrified, silent and insignificant. As statues of a past time, when they used to have a role. However, they are useless now. “Volver” is a film about two sisters, a daughter and a mother. And some accompanying neighbours who come to have their hairs done and make pies. They are the dough of Almodóvar’s world. The second scene in which there are men is again a mass scene. It is in the restaurant held by Penelope Kruz. They are a film crew that makes a movie there. The men come to have lunch, they make noise without sexual threats, they eat, drink, pay and go their own way. The only man profiled in “Volver” is Penelope Cruz's husband. He is preparing to commit an incest but he is killed in time and the child is saved.

This is the case with Almodóvar who makes movies about modern times. His poetics says that the harmonious world today is possible only with a radical absence of men. The world remains patriarchal. But the women in it feel good, only if they do not see men. With Almodóvar, the lines between the men’s and women’s world are fully drawn. There is no possibility for reconciliation between them.


    2.
    Almodóvar is a symptom of an important line in the pop culture. I shall call it a culture of absent fathers. Do you remember the cult series for teenagers “Family Ties” by Golbderg in the early 1980-es? It was a story of a father, mother and their four children, the son Alex (played by Michael J. Fox), the sisters Mallory and Jenifer and the youngest brother Andy. It was the first really commercial family sitcom. It was successful after the producers had realized that the happy family image is possible only if the father is deprived of all status privileges. Steven Keaton was a complete opposite of the Freudian sadistic father of the past times. The father did not impose taste, values and principles. That is how he became the






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