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Pedro Almodóvar (1951 - )
Lifespan: 1951 -
His films, marked by complex narratives, employ the codes of melodrama and use elements of pop culture, popular songs, irreverent humor, strong colors and glossy décor. Almodóvar never judges his characters actions, whatever they do, but he presents them as they are in all their complexity. Desire, passion, family and identity are the director's favorite themes. Almodóvar’s films enjoy a worldwide following and he has become a major figure on the stage of world cinema. His characters, in all their many forms, are attempting to 'come home', find safety, fulfillment and love with those around them to dispel an almost universal loneliness. Through his use of intellectually and socially marginal characters, Almodóvar is able to take the search for fulfillment to extremes that mainstream society seldom tolerates. The extreme actions undertaken by his characters, like the kidnap and seduction of a woman by a recently released mental patient in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! drives home the point that the urge to be with someone is strong enough to merit drastic action. [Mar 2007]
Related: art films - auteur cinema - sexuality in mainstream films - camp - drugs in mainstream films - European cinema - melodrama - Spain - director - gay cinema - queer cinema - women
Films: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) - Atame / Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990)
Songs of Almodóvar () - Various Artists [Amazon.com]
Mr. Almodóvar is a man of postmodern yet impeccable tastes, this can be witnessed in every aspect of his films, and in his choice of music for his soundtracks. The first two tracks by Luz Casal alone are worth the price of this CD. Highly recommended.
Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios/Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) - Pedro Almodóvar [Amazon.com]
ˇÁtame!/ Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990) - Pedro Almodóvar[Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Pedro Almodóvar (born September 24, 1951) is a Spanish filmmaker.
He was born in Calzada de Calatrava, Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha and grew up in Extremadura. At the age of sixteen he moved to Madrid, he worked in a number of jobs before settling down for twelve years at Telefónica. His first commercial film was shown in 1980 although he had been making short Super 8 or 16 mm films since 1972, Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón had been shot over eighteen months. He writes and directs most of his film and has also acted and produced. --
Hable con Ella/Talk to Her (2002) - Pedro Almodóvar
silent movie tribute scene where a man enters a lifesize doll of a woman --Hable con Ella/Talk to Her (2002) - Pedro Almodóvar
- Todo Sobre Mi Madre (all about my mother) - Pedro Almodóvar [1 DVD, Amazon US]
After her son is killed in an accident, Manuela (Cecilia Roth) leaves Madrid for her old haunts in Barcelona. She reconnects with an old friend, a pre-op transsexual prostitute named La Agrado (Antonia San Juan), who introduces her to Rosa (Penélope Cruz), a young nun who turns out to be pregnant. Meanwhile, Manuela becomes a personal assistant for Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes), an actress currently playing Blanche DuBois in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. All About My Mother traces the delicate web of friendship and loss that binds these women together. The movie is dedicated to the actresses of the world, so it's not surprising that all the performances are superb. Roth in particular anchors All About My Mother with compassion and generosity. But fans of writer-director Pedro Almodóvar needn't fret--as always, Almodóvar's work undermines conventional notions of sexual identity and embraces all human possibilities with bright colors and melodramatic plotting. However, All About My Mother approaches its twists and turns with a broader emotional scope than most of Almodóvar's work; even the more extravagant aspects of the story are presented quietly, to allow the sadness of life to be as present as the irrepressible vitality of the characters. Almodóvar embraces pettiness, jealousy, and grief as much as kindness, courage, and outrageousness, and the movie is the richer for it. --Bret Fetzer for amazon.com
- Hable con Ella - Talk to Her (2002) [DVD, Amazon US]
Writer-director Pedro Almodóvar makes another masterpiece with Talk to Her, his first film since the wonderful All About My Mother. Marco (Dario Grandinetti) is in love with Lydia (Rosario Flores), a female bullfighter who is gored by a bull and sent into a coma. In the hospital, Marco crosses paths with Benigno (Javier Camara), a male nurse who looks after another coma patient, a young dancer named Alicia (Leonor Watling). From Benigno's gentle attentiveness to Alicia, Marco learns to take care of Lydia... but from there, the story goes in directions that deftly manage to be sad, hopeful, funny, and creepy, sometimes at the same time. The rich human empathy of Almodóvar's recent films is passionate, heartbreaking, intoxicating--there aren't enough adjectives to praise this remarkable filmmaker, who is at the height of his powers. Talk to Her is superb, with outstanding performances from all involved. --Bret Fetzer for amazon.com
La ley del deseo is the movie that presented Almodóvar to the general public, even if still full of transgression and unusual characters. The facts are presented in a melodramatic key and the dialogue is more like Hollywood cinema, with the exception of an evident honesty in displaying gay characters through a lens that is neither compassion nor fun nor disrespect. Gay people are treated just like every other presence in a movie whose target is wider than any previous release by the director, which kind of sensibility is proper of homosexual artists (another example is Rainer Werner Fassbinder). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_ley_del_deseo [Aug 2006]
Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodovar (2000) - Paul Julian Smith
Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodovar (2000) - Paul Julian Smith [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
"A young woman returns to a seminary in rural Extremadura dressed as Dietrich in The Devil Is a Woman..." (more)
From Publishers Weekly
A thoughtful scholar and evident fan, Smith situates the nine feature films of Spanish director Almodovar within the shifting politics of post-Franco Spain, international debates about gender and sexuality, and the codes of Hollywood (particularly slasher films, melodramas and work by Douglas Sirk, Frank Tashlin and Alfred Hitchcock). Almodovar's films, he argues, seek "truth in travesty," partly by calling attention to cinematic artifice and representing gender and sexuality as stylized performance. Smith also contextualizes Almodovar's work, comparing its reception in Spain to that in other European countries and America--though a consideration of other Spanish-speaking markets might have been even more enlightening. He notes, for example, that Spanish audiences particularly appreciate the casting of straight actor Antonio Banderas in a gay role and of "genuine girl" Carmen Maura as a transsexual, communicating "a certain bracketing of gender identity" that might be missed elsewhere. Smith points out that Anglo-American critics consumed with the supposed misogyny of Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! missed the important theme of addiction. Although Smith's prose, informed by the psychoanalytic discourse of linguistics and feminist theory, occasionally threatens to deflate the delightful flamboyance of his subject, and some of his arguments beg for further development, his essays present a finely observed, compelling case for the seriousness and complexity of a cinema dedicated to evoking "the fragility of sexual difference." Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Dialogue is action for me. I've often said it and it seems like a joke but it's not: in Europe we make films about people because it's cheaper to put two people in a living room talking than to make a film full of special effects.--Pedro Almodovar
The international success of his latest feature, All About my Mother, has finally granted Pedro Almodovar the recognition he deserves, as the most artistically ambitious and commercially consistent film-maker in Europe. Frequently comic, always visually glorious, his films range from the screwball comedy Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to the classically austere Live Flesh. And, while questions of gender, nationality and sexuality are always Almodovar's concern, new subjects have been addressed in his more recent work: the corrosive effects of a deregulated media, the transition from dictatorship and, in All About my Mother, an uncompromising exploration of mourning. This new edition includes four additional chapters and new illustrations. The only study of its kind in English, it argues that beneath Almodovar's genius for comedy and visual pleasure lies a film-maker who deserves to be taken very seriously.
Post-Franco, Postmodern : The Films of Pedro Almodovar (1995) - Kathleen M. Vernon, Barbara Morris
Post-Franco, Postmodern : The Films of Pedro Almodovar (1995) - Kathleen M. Vernon, Barbara Morris [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
From Book News, Inc.
Raises the criticism of Almodovar's films from catalogues of characters and plot elements to an exploration of their place in the social, historical, technological, national, and international contexts of a Spain in which Franco remains dead. Especially targeting American viewers and scholars, the 11 essays explore homosexuality, melodrama, matricide and mother love, and other aspects of specific films; and the audience response to his movies generally. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
The films of Pedro Almodovar have demonstrated great crossover appeal in their ability to attract both mainstream and marginal audiences and to command critical as well as commercial success. The contributors to this anthology of critical essays seek, through close readings of the director's 10 feature films, to analyze the multiple contexts of Almodovar's phenomenal international success. This volume offers a corrective to the glib approaches that have dominated previous discussions of Almodovar's films, which have treated them, on the one hand, as simply the latest contribution to the travel poster image of passionate, "romantic Spain," or, on the other, as historical joyrides through the global pop culture scene. As the first comprehensive study of Almodovar's cinema to be published in North America, the book is also noteworthy for the range of critical and theoretical methodologies that the contributors bring to the study of his works. Drawing upon disciplines that run from psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, film and media studies, and cultural theory to the empirical study of audience response, the authors nevertheless share a concern to illuminate the specifically Spanish context of the director's films. While this volume serves the important function of introducing American audiences to post-Franco Spanish culture, it also pursues the complementary goal of projecting contemporary Spain into the critical debate on the forms and functioning of postmodern culture and society.
La Mala educación/Bad education (2004) - Pedro Almodóvar
La Mala educación/Bad education (2004) - Pedro Almodóvar [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Bad Education (La mala educación) is a 2004 film by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar about two reunited childhood friends (and lovers) in the vein of an Alfred Hitchcock murder mystery. Sexual abuse by Catholic priests, transsexuality, drug abuse, and a film-within-a-film are also important themes and devices in the plot. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_mala_educaci%F3n [Apr 2005]
see also: Pedro Almodóvar
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