Drag acts of transitional performance: sex, religion and memory in Pedro Almodóvar’s La mala educación and Ventura Pons’s Ocaña, retrat intermitent

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Abstract: This article explores the category of memory in relation to the body, sex and religion in the post-Franco transitional years through a queer theoretical framework. Focusing on Pedro Almodóvar’s La mala educación (2004) and the Catalan documentary Ocaña, retrat intermitent (1978) by Ventura Pons, this work considers how the role and performance of drag and cross-dressing in both films function as a technology of memory to rethink the body as script and religion as sex. Drawing on queer theoretical frameworks, this article argues that the embodied subject in drag subverts the normative trajectories of memory and, in the context of post-Franco Spain, poses challenges to religion, politics and body, in effect, reimagining the body’s relationship to memory to produce a counterhegemonic space. In other words, the desire for memory is the desire for experience, which becomes foregrounded through the affective performance of the queer and transgressive subjects present in both films.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-436
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Spanish Cultural Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014



  • José Pérez Ocaña
  • Pedro Almodóvar
  • Spanish transition
  • Ventura Pons
  • performance
  • queer theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History

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