Filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar is 70 years old.
A filmmaker who was part of the Spanish artistic avant-garde in 1979 at the time he collaborated in Iván Zulueta’s film Arrebato, an oasis in the desert of Francisco Franco’s Spain, cut off from the outside world.
A filmmaker who brilliantly portrayed the ebullience of the Spanish society during the 80s, as it was coming out of a decades long ultra-conservative dictatorship.
Who made us laugh to tears with the crazy situations and witty dialogues of his films, who gifted us with unforgettable characters, made us enjoy vivid and colorful mise-en-scenes, transported us through rivers of emotions telling passionate stories full of intrigue.
Who contributed to the success of the film careers of actresses like Rossy de Palma, Carmen Maura, Marisa Paredes, Victoria Abril, Cecilia Roth, Penélope Cruz…, and actor Antonio Banderas.
Who directed memorable films like Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980), Labyrinth of Passion (1982), What Have I Done to Deserve This? (1984), Matador (1986), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990), Live Flesh (1997), All About My Mother (1999) and Volver (2006).
Pedro Almodóvar, the quintessential Spanish film director, beloved in Madrid and San Francisco alike, returns to the big screen with his twenty-first film, Pain and Glory [Dolor y gloria].
The film revolves around the creative stagnation of a filmmaker and the ailments that come about with age. It is the eighth film Almodóvar makes with Antonio Banderas and the sixth with Penélope Cruz.
In Pain and Glory Almodóvar exhibits his usual gorgeous artistic and actors’ direction, as well as his wonderful ability to plunge the viewer into the dramatic curve of the story, making the audience enjoy and suffer like a winding river that flows up and down across mountains and valleys.
Although he began this decade with the not-so-interesting The Skin I Live In (2011) and I’m So Excited! (2013), the director from La Mancha is closing it with two jewels, Julieta (2016) and now Pain and Glory (2019), in what seems an overcoming of the creative crisis portrayed in his latest film.
The pain of the ailments that come about with his 70 years of age seems to be compensated by the glory of forty years of outpouring vitality through his memorable cinema.
Long live Almodóvar!
San Francisco’s Roxie Theater screens Pain and Glory starting Friday, November 22. Tickets: https://www.roxie.com/ai1ec_event/pain-and-glory-dolor-y-gloria/?instance_id=37888