Outlandish coincidences abound in Pedro Almodóvar
’s films, from unlikely chance encounters to mistaken identities. But in his latest picture, “Pain and Glory
,” it’s surely no coincidence that a poster for Fellini’s “8½” graces the wall of somebody’s apartment, or that the central character, Salvador Mallo, is an aging gay Spanish director with spiky gray hair whose name contains all the letters in “Almodóvar.”
Those are just a few of the signs that this new movie from the maker of “All About My Mother
” is, in many ways, all about himself. Mallo, played by frequent collaborator Antonio Banderas
, is an alter ego for Almodóvar, 69, and an echo of Fellini’s Guido Anselmi: a director edging into the twilight of life, plagued by physical and psychological frailty, visited by childhood memories, haunted by loss. There’s sex. There’s love. And, this being an Almodóvar film, there’s Mom.