"Law of Desire," one of three inaugural titles in Arsenal's film book series Queer Film Classics, focuses on the 1987 homoerotic melodrama by Pedro Almod?var, Spain's most successful contemporary film director.
The film "Law of Desire" is a grand tale of love, lust, and amnesia featuring three main characters: a gay film director (played by Eusebio Poncela); his sister, an actress who was once his brother (Carmen Maura); and a repressed, obsessive stalker (a young Antonio Banderas). In the twenty-plus years since its first release, "Law of Desire" has been acknowledged as redefining the way in which cinema can portray the difficult affective relationships between homosexuality, gender, and sex. Taking his cue from the golden age of Latin American, American, and European melodrama, Almod?var created a sentimental yet hard-edged film that believes in the utopian possibilities for new relationships that redeem people from their despair. Since its release, Almod?var has become an Oscar-winning filmmaker who regularly delves into issues of sexuality, gender, and identity.
This book examines the political and social context in which Almod?var created "Law of Desire," as well as its impact on LGBT cinema both in Europe and around the world.