Pedro Almodóvar always makes shocking films


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In the 1970s, when he made his first shorts in Super 8 and his first feature film, Almodóvar’s uninhibited imagination allowed him to revise the plots on the fly as the friends who played his characters entered and left the rooms. shootings. From the start, his work challenged all the principles of Francoism. His 1975 short, “The Fall of Sodom,” used around 30 men in cross-dressers and make-up to recreate the Genesis moment when the Sodomites surround Lot’s house. “All of this could only be done in the countryside, because they would have taken us to prison,” Almodóvar said.

At 72, the self-taught filmmaker remains at the peak of his abilities. His 2019 film “Pain and Glory” won two Oscar nominations, the sixth and seventh for his films. “Parallel Mothers” looks set to bring more to her. He has built a production company that guarantees his artistic freedom, has trained some of Spain’s greatest actors and created comedies that rival those of cinema masters Billy Wilder and Luis Buñuel. Like them, he has a genius for transforming the outrageous into the ordinary. But where Wilder dripped acid over romance and Buñuel roasted the bourgeoisie, Almodóvar’s films are rarely cynical. Instead, he favors love and empathy. He’s probably done more than any other director to transform the cinematic portrayal of gay and transgender people, and he deliberately dismantled the macho point of view on women in cinema. And now, with “Parallel Mothers”, he takes on Franco’s legacy for the first time.

When Auria woke up from her nap, Almodóvar was ready with a rewrite. He would make Smit say to Cruz that the girl was tired and had been put to bed, a fiction which was also a truth. But as if she felt her leverage was gone, the little star behaved like an angel. After their first take, Cruz blew kisses to him. They were back on time.

Almodóvar was among the first wave of Spaniards to catch Covid-19 in early March 2020. The virus hit him like a bad cold: low fever, body aches, stomach aches, headaches. Nothing terrible. Financially, however, Spain’s strict lockdown looked like a disaster. Back then, “Parallel Mothers” was nothing more than a file left on her computer. Instead, he was to shoot a short film, “The Human Voice”, with Tilda Swinton in early April. The meticulously constructed set waited inside a warehouse on the outskirts of Madrid. But containment prevented him from using it. Would he need to abandon the project and trash months of work?

Ever since Pedro and his younger brother, Agustín, pooled all their resources to found the production company El Deseo in 1986, they have preserved Pedro’s artistic independence. No one can insist he cut a trans character or redesign a controversial poster or ignore the hand painted kitchen tiles. El Deseo owns the negatives and copyrights of all but three of his films. This type of artistic control, however, requires careful financial management. Pedro’s films usually cost around 10 million euros. “For my part, I always need to handle the money with some kind of whip, as if it were an animal,” Agustín told me. If they lost too much on “The Human Voice,” the beast could inflict significant injury, affecting El Deseo’s budget for future films.

Agustín started helping Pedro with his shoots in the 1970s when he was a college student. A former math teacher, he is one of the first people to read Pedro’s scripts and has appeared in all of Pedro’s feature films. From the start, he wasn’t pissed off by Pedro’s outspoken portrayal of same-sex relationships. “The fact that Agustín is the producer of my films makes everything easier for me, in every way,” Pedro told me. “Not only during the shooting, during the making of the film, but also afterwards. Together, the brothers manage all the important decisions that affect Pedro’s career. Michael Barker, Sony Pictures Classics co-chair, remembers noticing a strange feature in El Deseo’s contracts during the 1980s. “They each signed Almodóvar’s name in exactly the same way,” he said. -he declares. “You never knew if it was Agustín or if it was Pedro.”

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