What Have I Done to Deserve This? (film)  

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What Have I Done to Deserve This? (¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?) is a 1984 film by Pedro Almodóvar. The title is sometimes given with an exclamation mark at the end rather than a question mark.

Almodóvar has described his fourth film as a homage to Italian Neorealism, although this tribute also involves jokes about paedophilia, prostitution, and a telekenetic child. The film, set in the towerblocks around Madrid, depicts female frustration and family breakdown, echoing Jean-Luc Godard's Two or Three Things I Know About Her but with Almodóvar's unique approach to :filmmaking. Carmen Maura has often worked for Almodóvar, she became a synonym for a strong woman and also a gay icon for her role as a transsexual in Law of Desire.


The film is a slice of a housewife's life in 1980s post-Franco Madrid. Gloria (Carmen Maura) lives in a small and cheap apartment with husband and two teenaged children: the declared homosexual Miguel, whom she sells to the dentist, and the drug-dealing Toni. Her husband, Antonio, longs for a German woman for whom he was a chauffeur in Germany before he married Gloria.

Gloria's mother-in-law, a frugal and unhappy woman who hides her magdalena cakes and desperately wants to move back to her native countryside, is another addition to Gloria's household. Cristal, a prostitute (played by Verónica Forqué) who lives next door, is Gloria's best friend.

When Gloria's husband assaults her in the kitchen, she accidentally kills him after hitting him with a ham leg. Her mother-in-law's lizard, Money, is the only witness to the crime. Gloria successfully evades the investigators and is never tied to the murder. There are many subplots intertwined with the main narrative with characters including a writer, his beauty-obsessed wife and an impotent policeman frustrated by his lack of sexual power.

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