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Pedro Almodóvar Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (16) | Personal Quotes (24)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 25 September 1949Calzada de Calatrava, Ciudad Real, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Birth NamePedro Almodóvar Caballero
Height 5' 9¾" (1.77 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel was born in a small town (Calzada de Calatrava) in the impoverished Spanish region of La Mancha. He arrived in Madrid in 1968, and survived by selling used items in the flea-market called El Rastro. Almodóvar couldn't study filmmaking because he didn't have the money to afford it. Besides, the filmmaking schools were closed in early 70s by Franco's government. Instead, he found a job in the Spanish phone company and saved his salary to buy a Super 8 camera. From 1972 to 1978, he devoted himself to make short films with the help of of his friends. The "premieres" of those early films were famous in the rapidly growing world of the Spanish counter-culture. In few years, Almodóvar became a star of "La Movida", the pop cultural movement of late 70s Madrid. His first feature film, Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom (1980), was made in 16 mm and blown-up to 35 mm for public release. In 1987, he and his brother Agustín Almodóvar established their own production company: El Deseo, S. A. The "Almodóvar phenomenon" has reached all over the world, making his films very popular in many countries.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Maximiliano Maza <mmaza@campus.mty.itesm.mx>

Trade Mark (3)

Often uses symbolism and metaphorical techniques to portray circular storylines.
His films often portrays strong female characters and transsexuals
Uses only his last name for his "Film By" credit ("Un film de Almodóvar")

Trivia (16)

Mother Francisca Caballero and brother Agustín Almodóvar often appear in cameo roles in his movies.
Lead singer of the infamous music duo "Almodóvar & McNamara", a legendary bizarre project that personified the image of "la movida madrileña" during the early 1980s in Madrid. He appears in that role in his own film Labyrinth of Passion (1982) (a.k.a. "Labyrinth of Passion") wearing women's clothes and lots of black makeup.
Attended a Catholic boarding school in the 1960s where some of his fellow students were abused by priests. He asserts that he himself wasn't abused.
He spent 10 years writing the script for Bad Education (2004) (a.k.a. "Bad Education"), during which time he made such acclaimed films such as All About My Mother (1999) (a.k.a. "All About my Mother") and Talk to Her (2002) (a.k.a. "Talk to Her"). The script is based upon a short story he wrote as an adolescent, which was based upon his experience at a Catholic boarding school.
1992: Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival.
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray is a big fan of his and named a chicken dish after him.
The Lady from Shanghai (1947) is one of his favourite films.
Favorite American actress is Meryl Streep.
Turned down an offer to direct Sister Act (1992).
Has directed one Oscar nominated performance: Penélope Cruz in Volver (2006).
New York, NY: Interviewed by journalist Lorne Manly as part of TimesTalks series at the New York TimesCenter building. [June 2013]
By his own admission, he usually starts writing his movies with a really important scene that ends up placed in the middle of the movie.
Le Doulos (1962) and Le Cercle Rouge (1970) are two of his favorite movies directed by Jean-Pierre Melville.
Often films rehearsals of his movies and includes them on the movie if he likes the scenes better that the one shot during proper production. Specially in comedies, when the actors would improvised things of something would happen unexpectedly and they would incorporated it into the scene.
Even though he doesn't watch TV, a lot of the main cast of 7 vidas (1999) have appeared on his movies: Blanca Portillo, Carmen Machi, Javier Cámara, Paz Vega, Guillermo Toledo, Leandro Rivera and Yolanda Ramos. Toni Cantó and Anabel Alonso have also worked with him, but before the show started.
Was approached to direct at some point both Brokeback Mountain and The Paperboy.

Personal Quotes (24)

All my movies have an autobiographical dimension, but that is indirectly, through the personages. In fact, I am behind everything that happens and that is said, but I am never talking about myself in first person singular. Something in me--probably a dislike of cheap exhibitionism--stops me from approaching a project too autobiographically.
Already when I was very young, I was a fabulador. I loved to give my own version of stories that everybody already knew. When I got out of a movie with my sisters, I retold them the whole story. In general they liked my version better than the one they had seen.
Cinema has become my life. I don't mean a parallel world, I mean my life itself. I sometimes have the impression that the daily reality is simply there to provide material for my next film.
[on his experience in the Catholic boarding school he lived in as a young man and on which Bad Education (2004) is based] The education we received was about guilt, sin, punishment.
[on why it took ten years to finish the script for Bad Education (2004)] [It] deals with my own biography . . . it took time to remove myself from it. Now it's not me. I changed the tone of the story, but the main situation is the same.
I do remember having extreme physical fear of the priests. One of the things we had to do was kiss the priest's hand, which I found revolting. The notorious abuser, who eventually had to leave, had this harem of about 20 boys.
I don't get involved with my actors. I don't get so involved with the films . . . If I lived like my characters, I would have been dead before I made 16 films.
Cinema can fill in the empty spaces of your life and your loneliness.
The characters in my films are assassins, rapists and so on, but I don't treat them as criminals, I talk about their humanity.
My first ambition was to be a writer. I have always been very interested in writing. But it seems to me that I have more capacity for telling a story with images. It seems I have more talent for filmmaking than for writing a novel, which is my dream. I have always found it easy to let my imagination go. You do not just need imagination for filmmaking, you also need a lot of passion. When I discovered filmmaking as a way of telling stories, I felt that I had found something that was in my nature. I am glad that I had this ambition to be a novelist because it has helped me in filmmaking.
In the last decade you can count the number of Hollywood dramas that have revolved around women. The studios have forgotten that women are fascinating.
[on Broken Embraces (2009)] I believe it is the most complex script I've ever written and during the writing of this film and also during the shoot, I did find myself in a different place. The way of making the film, the way of telling the story, the actors' tone and the way of editing was, you could say, a departure from some of my previous films. The film is much more balanced between the female characters and the male characters. This is also something new for me. I do feel that this film is a true declaration of love for cinema. I could almost say that cinema perfects all the irregularities, or the imperfections, of life.
[on Penélope Cruz] For me she's not exactly a muse, the person who inspires. She doesn't inspire me for stories but she inspired something very important which is confidence and that is very, very important work. But of course we can call her a muse in the sense that when I finish the first draft and I am thinking of the faces of the characters, I'm always looking for one that fits her or trying to adapt it for her, because I think there is a big chemistry between us. I think that when I work with Penelope now, I'm a better director, thanks to Penelope - and Penelope's probably a better actress thanks to me.
[on Luis Buñuel] We have the same roots, we belong to the same family and I really recognise myself in his films. For me, he is a real master.
I can get a lot of pleasure from a screening of Pink Flamingos (1972) by John Waters, and at the same time a Bergman movie, like Face to Face (1976) or Persona (1966). When I was a child, I remember very well that I saw a film by Michelangelo Antonioni. I was at school at the time, about 11 or 12, and I was deeply interested. But at the same time I saw silly pop movies that I liked too, because I was a child. I always combined these two tastes in my life.
[on Carmen Maura] If you divide the stages of my career and labelled them with the names of the people I've worked with, there's definitely a stage in my filmmaking that would be called The Carmen Maura Years, and those films were all in the 80s - although I did work with her again on Volver (2006). At the time, I felt she was absolutely the best vehicle I could find to tell my stories. She was the actress who had the best intuition, to connect with what I wanted from her. She could be very funny and very dramatic at the same time, so it was the perfect combination for me. Our relationship was absolutely perfect. We had this total communion, this osmosis, that went on, and due, probably, to that very intense and very fruitful engagement, it generated a number of personal problems that led to us having to stop working together. We were a filmmaking couple, but we faced all the issues - all the personal issues - that a normal couple faces. In that same period, through the 1980s up to 1990, the actor who best understood me and was able to play my parts was Antonio Banderas. Together with Carmen Maura.
I have been offered many projects in Hollywood, but I feel it's increasingly unlikely that I'll take them up. Because the way I work and the way they work over there are very different. I'm used to making up the story. I write it and direct it, or I adapt it if it's an adaptation, and so my filmmaking is very, very personal. I'm used to taking decisions and the criteria are my own. Of course, it's not a question of power - I do this in coordination with the entire team - but the ultimate criteria, the decision-making, is in my hands. And I feel that in Hollywood there are a whole number of people who take decisions prior to the director, and I feel that if I had to be listening to ten other people, all giving their opinion before I took a decision, it would lead to utter confusion.
I'm a big fan of David Lean. I think David Lean is the only example of a filmmaker who made super-productions that were auteur super-productions. They're extremely personal. And I don't think anyone's making films like that, and I really miss a personality like David Lean's in Hollywood.
[on Penélope Cruz] Penélope was born to be an actress. She is someone who is extremely emotional, and if she was not an actress it could be a problem for her. It's luck she has chosen a profession that allows her to express something that would be too much for a normal person. Otherwise she would suffer a lot. And even now maybe she suffers too much.
No one played the male characters I wrote in the 1980s better than Antonio Banderas. But in The Skin I Live In (2011), I didn't want to repeat what we had done before. I wanted to drain Antonio's face of all expression and emotion, which is difficult for an actor to do. But his disposition was exactly the same as it used to be, and he gave me the confidence to push forward. It was a great reunion.
[on being asked if The Skin I Live In (2011) is a horror movie] I myself am reluctant to label it that way. You have to be careful because to hardcore horror fans this will seem like a very strange movie, and I don't want to disappoint people. But in essence, yes, it is a horror film. There is a twenty minute sequence in the middle of the movie that definitely belongs to that genre - the revenge of a mad doctor that is so terrible that even though the film later segues into a melodrama and a thriller, that sequence remains in your mind and colors the rest of the film.
Artists have inspired me and inspired my characters, it gives them something to live... art's function is to help you survive, help you live.
My school and the cinema were only a few buildings apart on the same street. The bad education I received at school was rectified when I went to the cinema. My religion became the cinema. Of course one could create one's own belief system, and anything that helps or supports you in life can be seen as covering the function of religion. In that sense you could consider cinema my religion, because it is one of my major stimuli that I have for living. Cinema has that aspect of devotion to saints and idolatry as well. In that sense it is entirely religious.
I like to think I'm original... [although] I have been compared to both good and bad directors.

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