Freud’s “Uncanny” looks into the repetition of words, numbers, and events, “There is the constant recurrence of similar situations, a same face, or character-trait, or twist of fortune, or a same crime, or even a same name recurring throughout several consecutive generations” (Rivkin/Ryan, 425).
Throughout the film, the device of repetition is used to the advantage of plot advancement and adds to the complexity of the characters’ lives and development. Overall, there is the theme of death. It seems like everyone in that supersitious village is dying off quickly, yet no one really questions the amount of deaths (wow guys, really on top of your game). First, it’s Raimunda’s parents, followed by the disappearance of Agustina’s mom on the same day, Paco’s murdered ass, and the same day Paula dies, then by the end there’s the foreshadowing of Agustina’s death, which makes us wonder who’s going to follow her to death’s door.
The death of men in particular is the most interesting to look into, and honestly the most rewarding part of watching the strange string of events. Both Rainmunda’s father and husband are murdered because they’re trash rapist, incestual pests. Both fathers were killed by women because of their acts against those who were meant to trust them the most. Paco and the father’s death were also great for my happiness because we saw women helping women in the disposing of their bodies.
The cinematography of Volver also depicts more bloodshed than one might have considered there to be after Raimunda cleaned up her dead pest’s blood off her kitchen floor. In every shot, the color red penetrates the viewers’ eyes. Whether its the blood soaked paper towels or a passing person’s shoes, those watching are consistently watching the presence of the color of passion and lust in every shot. I questioned the role of red every time it popped up on the screen, and Paige had to deal with me screaming “there’s only red wine in the glasses, and every other glass is empty!!”, and other things of the sort because once I noticed the pattern of red objects, I couldn’t let it go.
Red is the color we associate with blood and death. We also associate it with power. Both Raimunda and her daughter, Paula (the same as the aunt who died, let’s wonder about what that means on our own time shall we), wear the color throughout the film, weather it’s a red purse thrown over the shoulder or a pair of red track pants. Red is also the color of passion, love, and desire. The blood of the father on the floor, and the presence of that same blood in something that can be seen in the pure form of water can show the impurities of the situation the family keeps finding itself in through each generation.
What we can also take from the series of events that occur, is that the family experiences a case of the “unheimlich” in that the incest and raping of young females is “something which ought to have been kept concealed but which nevertheless come to light” (Rivkin/Ryan, 429), at least in the eyes of the mother(s). By killing the fathers and concealing what had happened to their families, the mothers act as if they are protecting their daughters from what has happened to them. But I’m pretty sure that if the village found out what pieces of garbage Paco and Raimunda’s father were, they would’ve helped the women conceal the bodies better than in a freezer. I can only hope that Paula is smarter with her future murder of her spouse, because her mom wasn’t too bright carving her father’s birth and death dates into the trunk of a tree right over his grave.
The most uncanny thing of all in Volver was that I didn’t recognize Carmen at all in this film.