Longing for Return: An Existential Search and Identity Formation in Almodovar’s Volver

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Zaya Rustamova


This essay explores Almodovar’s construction of female characters in his film Volver (2006), in which the strength of the protagonists’ maternal instinct foments their willpower and vital energy leading them to come to terms with past experiences of emotional and sexual abuse. At the center of interpretation of this cinematographic work is the Nietzschean term of the eternal return, developed in his work Thus Spoke Zarathustra, according to which, all the events of the past and present have already occurred at some time, will repeat themselves in the future ad infinitum and can be visually represented by a kind of incessant wheel or circle with no beginning or end formed by the past and future. In this vein, my reading of Volver examines how “the unconditional and infinitely repeated circular course of” events (Nehamas 1985, 146) forges the existential search and self-realization of Almodovar’s characters. The analysis concludes that such reoccurrence of the traumatic events allows the female protagonists to unfold the secrets of their past, and by virtue of discovery, redemption, and reconciliation, to recover the lost family bond ultimately reviving the fractured symbiosis between these women and reasserting their will to improve their individual and collective future.

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Rustamova, Z. (2020). Longing for Return: An Existential Search and Identity Formation in Almodovar’s Volver. Humanities Bulletin, 3(2), 237–245. Retrieved from https://www.journals.lapub.co.uk/index.php/HB/article/view/1681

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