Pedro Almodóvar's films have always been charged with sexual content and eroticism that seems impossible to contain. However, sex always comes with a little bit extra as the director inserts some sort of symbolism in it.
Think about it, how many times does he give us purely gratuitous sex? In films like Live Flesh for example, he delivers the kind of coital situation that is able to turn audiences on while exposing different layers about its characters (notice how in that movie, Francesca Neri grabs onto Liberto Rabal's hips with the passion she can't show her paraplegic husband, played by Javier Bardem).
In Law of Desire Almodóvar leads us to what seemingly will be a purely lustful situation as film director Pablo (Eusebio Poncela) begins a torrid affair with the young Antonio (Antonio Bandera)
Without needing to mention how his displays of homosexual passion are nothing short of hot, as the film moves on, Pedro begins to turn these people into almost Bergmanian symbols of despair and sorrow.
Antonio, unable to understand Pablo's rejection, takes on a metaphysical transformation that reminds us of Bergman's own Persona in how we see the personalities unintentionally fuse into one. Of course Pedro wouldn't be OK with just this and in a movie that also deals with transgendered motherly love (portrayed by Carmen Maura) we arrive to a beautifully poignant climax in which all of the ideological currents the film has dealt with reach an aesthetic and emotional peak.
This shot (my favorite in the film), equals this:
I'll leave it to you to think about the implications that come with Pedro's staging of this famous moment using two men, who are inarguably sinners in a Catholic context, who also represent mothers and whose relationship began with just sex (makes for a whole essay in the making about dating in the gay world, no?)
This post is part of the fabulous Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series.