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Pedro Almodóvar

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition ‘Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado' at QAG
21 July – 2 September 2012

'Cinema is an irrational passion. All my cinema is impregnated with cinema. The experience of seeing a film forms part of my biography.' Pedro Almodóvar

The Gallery’s Australian Cinémathèque presents a retrospective of films by Pedro Almodóvar — one of the most celebrated and charismatic figures in contemporary Spanish cinema.

For more than 30 years, Almodóvar has created a unique blend of melodrama, suspense, black humour and visceral emotion, writing and directing films that deal with excess, passion and the complexity of family and identity. Central to his films are his fascinations with the disenfranchised, with the roles adopted by women (in particular the figure of the housewife), and exploring the nexus between religion, love and sexuality. Simultaneously flamboyant, humorous and deeply earnest, Almodóvar’s films contain some of the most memorable stories and characters in international cinema.

After a provincial upbringing, Almodóvar began his career in the mid 1970s, during the period of Spain’s transition to democracy and amid Madrid’s vanguard underground cultural movement known as ‘La Movida’. His provocative early films and his involvement with punk music and publishing helped to mark his early work with a distinctive sense of personal and social liberation, which carried him on to international acclaim.

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This program would not have been possible without the assistance of our Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film partners. Special thanks to National Film and Sound Archive Australia; British Film Institute; Instituto de la cinematografía y de las artes audiovisuales (ICCA) and the Embassy of Spain in Australia. 

Audi GOMA Bar
Meet friends for a drink or bite to eat in the Audi GOMA Bar, open before Friday and Saturday night screenings from 5.30pm.

Tickets

Adult $9 | 5-film pass $36
Concession $7 | 5-film pass $28

Members+ $6 | 5-film pass $24

Purchase in advance through qtix or at the GOMA Box Office from one hour prior to film screenings^
. Advance tickets sales through qtix are available until 12 noon on the day of screening.

* Booking fees apply
^ Subject to availability

+ Discount available to Gallery Members and Foundation Members
A 5-film pass entitles you to either 5 tickets to one film screening or a ticket to 5 different films. All 5 films must be chosen at the time of purchasing a 5-film pass.
Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom) 1980 Ages 18+

Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom) 1980 Ages 18+

Sat 28 July 6.00pm and Fri 3 Aug 6.00pm / Cinema A

16MM TRANSFERRED TO 35MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 82 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: PACO FEMENIA / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / COSTUME DESIGNER: MANUELA CAMACHO / PRODUCTION CO: FÍGARO FILMS / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: CINEMA/TELEVISIÓ, S.A.

‘I don’t try to be provocative. I behave naturally, and at times it’s scandalous. I accept the reaction, but my intention isn’t to scandalise people… It’s the same with my films. I don’t want to scandalise anyone, on the contrary, I look for complicity and reciprocity from the spectator, but without making concessions.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

Pepi, Luci, Bom… began as a fotonovela published by Almodóvar in an underground Madrid zine. The film’s episodic plot expresses the movida’s revolution in social and sexual attitudes by tracing the various indignities suffered and inflicted by its eponymous heroines: a rape victim, a masochistic housewife and a lesbian punk rocker. Made on a shoestring and shot in 16mm with help from Almodóvar’s many friends from across Madrid’s various underground movements, Pepi, Luci, Bom…  offers a refreshing irreverence towards sexuality and social mores that recalls the 1970s films of John Waters.’ Harvard Film Archive

Laberinto de pasiones (Labyrinth of Passion) 1982 R18+

Laberinto de pasiones (Labyrinth of Passion) 1982 R18+

Sat 28 July 8.00pm and Sat 11 Aug 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 100 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR, TERRY LENNOX / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ÁNGEL LUIS FERNÁNDEZ / EDITORS: MIGUEL FERNÁNDEZ, PABLO PÉREZ MÍNGUEZ, JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNERS: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR, ANDRÉS SANTANA / ART DIRECTORS: VIRGINIA RUBIO / COSTUME DESIGNERS: ALFREDO CARAL, MARINA RODRÍGUEZ / MUSIC: BERNARDO BONEZZI, FABIO MCNAMARA / PRODUCTION CO: ALPHAVILLE SA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: INSTITUTO DE LA CINEMATOGRAFÍA Y DE LAS ARTES AUDIOVISUALES (ICCA)

‘A departure from the punk spirit of Pepi, Luci, Bom…, Almodóvar’s second feature offers a stylish blend of Hitchcock and screwball comedy that reveals his innate talent at imitating and reinventing Hollywood gloss. While Labyrinth of Passion centres on the converging paths of two sex-crazed unfortunates, the film also orchestrates a larger cast and a delirious pastiche of hot-button topics ranging from incest to Islamic terrorism to Lacanian psychoanalysis, all coloured with the polymorphous pansexuality found throughout Almodóvar’s earliest works.’ Harvard Film Archive

‘When the film opened, I said jokingly that the thesis of the film was that Madrid had become the most evolved, modern, permissive, inoffensive, and open city in the universe. All the international intrigues came together in Madrid, everything was happening here. I was being ironic, but nowadays I really miss the Madrid that had just awakened to freedom.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

Entre tinieblas (Dark Habits) 1983 R18+

Entre tinieblas (Dark Habits) 1983 R18+

Sat 4 Aug 6.00pm and Fri 31 Aug 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, STEREO, 114 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ÁNGEL LUIS FERNÁNDEZ / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNERS: ROMÁN ARANGO, PIN MORALES / COSTUME DESIGNERS: FRANCIS MONTESINOS, TERESA NIETO / MUSIC: CAM ESPAÑA / PRODUCTION CO: TESAURO SA / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: TAMASA DISTRIBUTION

Dark Habits is a pious film, although the object of that piety isn’t God, but the human being in all his despicableness. It also tells the story of an insane love, an irrational love, without remedy or future.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

‘With its bemused view of the veniality and hypocrisy of the human heart, Dark Habits brings Almodóvar perhaps the closest to his great Spanish precursor, Luis Buñuel, and the gulfs between public belief and private behaviour, between religious dogma and human experience that were often an inspiration for Buñuel’s dark comedies. Taking place almost entirely in a crumbling convent where a punkish young singer takes refuge after her boyfriend overdoses, Dark Habits offers a clear and questioning allegory for the church’s changing role in contemporary Spain.’ Harvard Film Archive

¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto!! (What Have I Done to Deserve This?) 1984 M

¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto!! (What Have I Done to Deserve This?) 1984 M

Fri 27 July 6.00pm and Sun 12 Aug 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 101 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH/GERMAN/ENGLISH/FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / BASED ON THE STORY ‘LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER’ (1953) BY ROALD DAHL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ÁNGEL LUIS FERNÁNDEZ / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNERS: ROMÁN ARANGO, PIN MORALES / COSTUME DESIGNER: CECILIA ROTH / MUSIC: BERNARDO BONEZZI / PRODUCTION CO: KAKTUS PRODUCCIONES CINEMATOGRÁFICAS, TESAURO SA / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: POTENTIAL FILMS

‘Almodóvar’s fourth film perfects the mix of satire, melodrama, irony and farce that characterise his earliest internationally successful comedies that followed. Its title a lament from its beleaguered housewife protagonist, What Have I Done… follows the woman’s hilarious attempts to deal with an abusive husband, a drug-dealing son, a disapproving mother-in-law and a rogue’s gallery of neighbours. This razor-sharp ensemble comedy satirises the influx of consumerism that swept into Spain following the end of the dictatorship, while offering a rich character study of a woman, like a Fassbinder heroine, trapped between stultifying tradition and a banal present.’ Harvard Film Archive

‘The Spanish housewife is a person full of vitality and initiative, always used to getting blood from a stone. Her only aim is to survive, and in that aspect she is true virtuoso. The housewife accepts the consumer society, she loves it, she adores capitalism even if her husband is a Communist. She’d like to buy everything; technological advances would be meaningless without her almost fetishist fondness for them. The unfortunate thing is that their desires to consume turn against them. A time comes when they are the ones who are consumed.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

Matador 1986 R18+

Matador 1986 R18+

Sat 25 Aug 6.00pm and Sun 2 Sept 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, MONO, 110 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / SCRIPT: JESÚS FERRERO, PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ÁNGEL LUIS FERNÁNDEZ / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNER: FERNANDO SÁNCHEZ / COSTUME DESIGNER: JOSÉ MARÍA DE COSSÍO / MUSIC: BERNARDO BONEZZI / PRODUCTION CO: COMPAÑÍA IBEROAMERICANA DE TV, TELEVISIÓN ESPAÑOLA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: CONTEMPORARY FILMS

‘Retired bullfighter Diego Montes turns from killing bulls to killing girls. Lawyer María Cardenal dispatches her sexual partners with equal torero finesse, plunging a stiletto into their napes. María’s new client, Angel, is driven by a guilt complex into claiming he killed Diego’s victims. A cop is assigned to the case but he soon falls head over gum-hell for the sexy Angel… In the wacky, wry and delightfully extravagant Matador Almodóvar skilfully endows stock Spanish themes with an utterly modern treatment. In old Spain death was a climax to existence. Almodóvar seizes the sexual overtones of the premise, and Diego and María’s supposed suicide scene becomes one of satinate eroticism. Spain is fantasy and spectacle: Almodóvar uses sumptuous sets, dramatic camera angels and dresses his sleek young actors like models with winkle-pickers, chunky, padded suits and for María, a gorgeous gold and scarlet torero’s cape.’ London Film Festival

Matador is an amoral, romantic story. All the characters, not only the protagonists, live only for love… I want to make a romantic film, but not one that is melodramatic; on the contrary, one that is very fierce. I want to move the spectator, but with a savage emotion. Beauty has always been condemned to die, and I’m not referring just to physical deterioration, which is a kind of passive death. Beauty, like passionate love, is always an exception that by its irrational nature goes against any kind of order… No order, no ideology, has protected or simply accepted beauty, or passion, because both things are uncontrollable.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

La ley del deseo (Law of Desire) 1987 R18+

La ley del deseo (Law of Desire) 1987 R18+

Sun 5 Aug 1.00pm and Fri 17 Aug 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY, 102 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ÁNGEL LUIS FERNÁNDEZ / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / ART DIRECTOR: JAVIER FERNÁNDEZ / COSTUME DESIGNER: JOSÉ MARÍA DE COSSÍO / PRODUCTION CO: EL DESEO SA, LAURENFILM / PRINT SOURCE: CONTEMPORARY FILMS / RIGHTS: TAMASA DISTRIBUTION

‘There are laws that you can flout, there are others you can’t. For example, if you throw yourself through a window with the lawful desire to fly, that’s when the law of gravity takes hold. No matter how much you might scorn it, you will find yourself plowing into the ground in a matter of seconds. The law of desire is like that gravity: even though you may scorn it, you must pay your due, a due that can be quite high.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

Law of Desire takes place in a feverish universe in which life is theatre, and to truly live is to overact. Almodóvar takes as his protagonist a prolific writer-director, Pablo (Eusebio Poncela) and through him explores the possibilities of utter desire-desire that is at once a possession, and the wish to possess. Pablo is obsessed with a young lover, Juan, who can't be had; but it is Antonio, a one-night-stand replacement for Juan, who teaches Pablo about true obsession when he wakes up the morning after, possessed and possessive. The most florid of over actors-and the one with the most to teach the relatively mild-mannered Pablo-is the actress Tina, Pablo's sister, who was his brother until an Oedipal flip flop made him want to be a girl, who wants nothing to do with men. Tina is the magnificent creation of the huskily beautiful Carmen Maura.’ BAM / Pacific Film Archive

Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) 1988 M

Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) 1988 M

Sat 21 July 6.00pm, Sun 29 July 1.00pm and Fri 10 Aug 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, ULTRA STEREO, 90 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JOSÉ LUIS ALCAINE / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / COSTUME DESIGNER: JOSÉ MARÍA DE COSSÍO / MUSIC: BERNARDO BONEZZI / PRODUCTION CO: EL DESEO SA, LAURENFILM / PRINT SOURCE: BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE / RIGHTS: TAMASA DISTRIBUTION

‘The problem with men and women is that, even though they pertain to the same species and even resemble each other physically (jackals also resemble dogs, but are not dogs), they don’t understand each other. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it will always be.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

Women on the Verge… is a postmodern Pop-boiler that spins dizzily between flipped-out soap opera, ultra synthetic ‘50s kitsch, old-fashioned sex farce and up-to-date sexual politics. The plot centres on Pepa (Carmen Maura), a dubbing-studio actress who receives an answering machine kiss-off from her unworthy lover Ivan. Loosely inspired by Jean Cocteau’s The Human Voice, Women on the Verge… reverses the passivity of Cocteau’s heroine by presenting Pepa not as a tragic victim but a resilient woman of action who hurls the offending telephone out of her high-rise window and sets forth in Madrid to track down her inconstant lover. Among the obstacles and distractions she encounters along the way are a potful of drugged gazpacho, an ubiquitous cab driver with a platinum pompadour, a scatterbrain young woman unwittingly messed up with Shiite terrorists, and a vengeful, gun-toting ex-wife recently (and prematurely) released from a mental hospital.’ New Yorker Films

Átame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!) 1990 R18+

Átame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!) 1990 R18+

Sun 22 July 1.00pm and Fri 3 Aug 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY, 111 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (LIVE ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JOSÉ LUIS ALCAINE / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNER: ESTHER GARCÍA / ART DIRECTOR: FERRAN SÁNCHEZ / COSTUME DESIGNER: JOSÉ MARÍA DE COSSÍO / MUSIC: ENNIO MORRICONE / PRODUCTION CO: EL DESEO SA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PARK CIRCUS

‘The story is about a boy who has been neglected by life, nothing has been given to him, not even a little common sense. The film tells of his apprenticeship towards becoming a normal person.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

‘Don’t be deceived by the title: Almodóvar’s Átame!, while not without the director’s patented kinky touches and outré humour, is really a pure contemplation on l’amour fou. It’s a real change of pace for Almodóvar; the camp hilarity has been replaced by anguished, albeit offbeat, romantic heterosexual yearning. Ricky (Antonio Banderas), the inmate of a mental institution, is one day deemed fit for society and released. On a previously escape from the hospital, he met Marina (Victoria Abrila), a former porn star and junkie. Besotted by her memory, he determines to seek her out again. Marina has no recall of Rickey when she sees him, but he trails her home and kidnaps her. He ties her up in her own apartment, making her a literally captive audience for his desperate overtures.’ Film Journal International

Tacones lejanos (High Heels) 1991 M

Tacones lejanos (High Heels) 1991 M

Sat 18 Aug 6.00pm and Fri 24 Aug 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY, 112 MINUTES, SPAIN/FRANCE, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ALFREDO MAYO / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNER: PIERRE-LOUIS THÉVENET / ART DIRECTOR: CARLOS GARCÍA CAMBERO / COSTUME DESIGNER: JOSÉ MARÍA DE COSSÍO / MUSIC: RYÛICHI SAKAMOTO / PRODUCTION CO: CANAL+, CIBY 2000, EL DESEO SA, TF1 FILMS PRODUCTION / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: UNIVERSAL FILMS / SCREENING FORMAT: HD CAM

‘An aging singer returns home after many years to reconnect with her estranged daughter. Her daughter has found success in her career as a television newscaster and in love with the owner of the TV station, who also happens to be one of her mother’s ex-boyfriends. When he turns up dead, the relationship between the two women faces its greatest test. Drawing explicitly from Hollywood’s great women’s movies of the 1940s, Almodóvar lovingly brings to life his heroines who embody both presentational performance and sacrificial integrity.’ Harvard Film Archive

‘Ever since I was kid, I’ve kept a passionate relation with movies. Mine was an early calling; I always wanted to make films. Back then I thought that movies were the actors, but then I discovered all the other elements that go with them, the people who created and wrote the story, for example. At that moment I decided that my calling was to be the narrator, the owner of the game, the one who decided the story to tell and how to tell it. However, now that I’m a director, I still believe that the actors are the material on which the story is printed. They give life to the narrative; they lead it and turn it into something real. I became a filmmaker to direct actors and High Heels belongs to the kind of films that depend entirely on actors, they form the axle for other elements to spin around; light, production design, shooting, atmosphere, music.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

‘Even though I love classic melodrama, I’ve disregarded the usual Manicheism and sentimental indulgence so particular to this genre. High Heels is a hard melodrama; it is close to noir film (and, why not, to musical comedies as well). It’s also a literary film, a story that goes on developing itself through words. The characters speak out using words, or giving them up, and the word also becomes their best weapon for attack and defence. Words can help them kill or save someone’s life.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

Kika 1993 R18+

Kika 1993 R18+

Fri 10 Aug 6.00pm and Sat 18 Aug 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY SR, 114 MINUTES, SPAIN/FRANCE, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: ALFREDO MAYO / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / COSTUME DESIGNERS: JOSÉ MARÍA DE COSSÍO, GIANNI VERSACE / PRODUCTION CO: EL DESEO SA, CIBY 2000 / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: TAMASA DISTRIBUTION

‘The audience laughed at the first part and didn’t understand the second… My intention was to unmask the story itself, as if I was saying to the spectator: “You think you’re seeing a screwball comedy but that’s only in appearance. What you’re seeing is a sordid perverse thriller and this sordidness is no more than a reflection of the life we live.” It’s as if one genre, the thriller, was taking its revenge on another, the screwball comedy, and Kika, the character, was the victim of that revenge.’  Pedro Almodóvar

‘Almodóvar's outrageous comedy about voyeurism and the media marked a midpoint in his career: straddling the carefree excesses of the 1980s and his affecting melodramas of the 1990s onwards. Kika is wall-to-wall colour, characters and double-crossing. It stars Victoria Abril as the devilish Jean-Paul Gaultier-clad Andrea Scarface: the one-woman ambulance-chasing TV host, hunting down the ever-optimistic Kika (played with Munroe-like charm by Verónica Forqué). Culminating in a murderous showdown that would shame Quentin Tarantino, Kika also features Almodóvar regular Rossy de Palma as the exquisitely 'ugly' maid Juana, and, in a stroke of sheer brilliance, his own elderly mother as a TV show hostess.’ Australian Centre for the Moving Image

‘What begins as a mere comedy bordering on the slapstick turns into a foul tale of jealousy, revenge, unresolved childhood traumas, conjugal problems and serials murders, with television a preying witness, about to be consumed by its own voracity… The character of Kika embodies my ideal state of mind: she is a role model that I would love to follow, if I was more naïve. Andrea Scarface is exactly the opposite: she scares me, she is the danger represented by the marketing of other people’s pain.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

La flor de mi secreto (The Flower of my Secret) 1995 M

La flor de mi secreto (The Flower of my Secret) 1995 M

Sun 26 Aug 3.00pm and Sat 1 Sept 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 103 MINUTES, SPAIN/FRANCE, SPANISH/FRENCH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / BASED ON THE SHORT STORY 'THE LOVELY LEAVE' (1943) BY DOROTHY PARKER / CINEMATOGRAPHER: AFFONSO BEATO / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNER: ESTHER GARCÍA / ART DIRECTORS: WOLFGANG BURMANN, MIGUEL LÓPEZ PELEGRÍN / COSTUME DESIGNER: HUGO MEZCUA / MUSIC: ALBERTO IGLESIAS / PRODUCTION CO: CIBY 2000, EL DESEO SA / PRINT SOURCE: NATIONAL FILM AND SOUND ARCHIVE AUSTRALIA / RIGHTS: TAMASA DISTRIBUTION

The Flower of My Secret is a “feel-good” film, which does not imply any concession to sentimentality. Although I adore melodrama, this time I chose aridity and synthesis. Bile instead of honey. Tears that do not serve to let off steam, but to asphyxiate. True Pain. This Flower casts an intense and painful aroma, and yet, there are no evil characters. They are all good, like in a film by Capra. But in spite of this absence of evil, their mere clumsiness, indecision, or cowardice (or quite simply the fact that human beings are imperfect) ends up causing pain to those around them.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

‘A woman is once again the centre of Pedro Almodóvar’s attentions. This time it is the beautiful Leo (Marisa Paredes). She is a novelist: successful, sexy, middle-aged, yet vital. Then her husband up and leaves her, and she is thrown into immediate despair. Her life quickly collapses. Even her writing goes from brilliant to bleak. Leo’s plight is not common, yet in her case, she refuses to be put out to pasture. She has real needs and real power. There is a sense that all along, she has innately known she is living a lie. As if suddenly waking from the deep sleep that has been her life, she must find a way of embracing the new person she has become, a person who can be alone. Almodóvar fans may find The Flower of My Secret a departure from the wild free-for-all of his earlier films. On the other hand, he doesn’t need to revert to these antics to tell a story with this much emotional depth. There is a stillness in this new work that makes it all the more poignant. Of course, colour plays its usual important part and there is plenty of the Almodóvar’s razor-sharp wit. The style may be different, but his genius, as always, is his attention to character and his insight into the psyche of the people he knows better than anyone.’ Sundance Film Festival

Carne trémula (Live Flesh) 1997 MA15+

Carne trémula (Live Flesh) 1997 MA15+

Fri 24 Aug 8.00pm and Sun 26 Aug 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 103 MINUTES, FRANCE/SPAIN, SPANISH/ITALIAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR, JORGE GUERRICAECHEVARRÍA, RAY LORIGA / BASED ON THE NOVEL 'LIVE FLESH' (1986) BY RUTH RENDELL / CINEMATOGRAPHER: AFFONSO BEATO / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNER/ART DIRECTOR: ANTXÓN GÓMEZ / COSTUME DESIGNER: JOSÉ MARÍA DE COSSÍO / MUSIC: ALBERTO IGLESIAS / PRODUCTION CO: CIBY 2000, EL DESEO SA, FRANCE 3 CINÉMA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: TAMASA DISTRIBUTION

Live Flesh is a testicular film. As a dramatic subject, I am more interested in men when they are starting to be men. I don’t see myself writing stories about forty year olds who have problems in their love lives.’ Pedro Almodóvar

‘Like all my other films, Live Flesh is not easy to classify in terms of genre. All I know is that it is the most disquieting film I have ever made up to now, and the one that has caused me the most unease. It is not a thriller, or a cop film, though there are policemen and gunshots and guilty men who are innocent. It isn’t an erotic film either, although the story takes place in the field of bare carnal desire. Live Flesh is an intense drama, baroque and sensual, that partakes both of the thriller and the classic tragedies.’ Pedro Almodóvar

Live Flesh is a heady concoction of carnage, carnality and Catholicism that owes more to the works of Luis Buñuel than it does to the Ruth Rendell thriller from which it was loosely adapted. Less deliriously camp than earlier works, Live Flesh still retains enough kitschy melodrama and lush sensuality to delight. Its overt politicism and rueful rumination on themes such as death, destiny and redemption also signal a more mature phase in Almodóvar's work, one in which extravagant style can take second billing to more substantive issues. The storyline itself could hardly be more baroque, entangling the lives of two cops, a diplomat's daughter, a philandering wife and an ex-con in a vortex of marital infidelities, murderous revenge and paralysing guilt complexes. Death stalks these sexy characters throughout an intensely fatalistic tragicomedy that also finds time to comment on the freedoms now enjoyed in post-Franco Spain.’ Screen International

Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother) 1999 M

Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother) 1999 M

Sun 29 July 3.00pm and Sun 19 Aug 1.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 101 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH/CATALAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: AFFONSO BEATO / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / ART DIRECTOR: ANTXÓN GÓMEZ / COSTUME DESIGNERS: BINA DAIGELER, JOSÉ MARÍA DE COSSÍO / MUSIC: ALBERTO IGLESIAS / PRODUCTION CO: EL DESEO SA, RENN PRODUCTIONS, FRANCE 2 CINÉMA, VÍA DIGITAL / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ICON FILMS

‘A master of the genre, Almodóvar creates a modernist melodrama with dashes of his trademark surrealism that draws not only on empathy for the wounded but on an admiration for the resilience of women. All About My Mother is a story of love and friendship that is born of significant loss. After losing her son in an unfortunate accident after attending a production of A Streetcar Named Desire, a single mother seeks solace from her grief. Along the way she rediscovers pieces of her past as she reunites with the boy’s transvestite father, meets an old friend, and forges new friendships with a nun who runs a shelter for battered prostitutes and with the stage actress her son so admired. Embracing issues of gender, role playing, and melodrama itself, Almodóvar creates a uniquely affecting work.’ Harvard Film Archive

‘My first intention was to make a film about a woman who, without being an actress, is always acting. Later one, I realised that the real theme of the film was wounded motherhood, family as a spontaneous unit based on affection. The film asks an important question: what has the family become at the end of this century? The family institution is no longer what it was, despite all the efforts by the Vatican and the Catholic right; the family is no longer determined by biology. In this film the family is made up of a group of people who love and care for each other.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

Hable con ella (Talk to Her) 2002 MA15+

Hable con ella (Talk to Her) 2002 MA15+

Sun 22 July 3.00pm, Sat 4 Aug 8.00pm and Fri 17 Aug 6.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, BLACK AND WHITE AND COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 112 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JAVIER AGUIRRESAROBE / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / ART DIRECTOR: ANTXÓN GÓMEZ / COSTUME DESIGNER: SONIA GRANDE / MUSIC: ALBERTO IGLESIAS / PRODUCTION CO: EL DESEO SA, ANTENA 3 TELEVISIÓN, GOOD MACHINE, VÍA DIGITAL / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM

‘A nurse caring for a comatose young dancer develops a strange yet intimate friendship with a writer who awaits the recovery of his lover, a bullfighter who has been gored. A series of jumps in time reveal many surprising twists in the development of the relationships between each of the comatose women and their respective male companions. Framed by a moving Pina Bausch spectacle, this relatively restrained melodrama received international acclaim (including a surprise Oscar win for Best Original Screenplay). Despite his acclaim as a “women’s director,” Almodóvar proves equally adept at constructing complex male characters.’ Harvard Film Archive

Talk to Her is a story about the friendship between two men, about loneliness and the long convalescence of the wounds provoked by passion. It is also a film about noncommunication between couple, and about communication. About cinema as a subject of conversation. About how monologues before a silent person can be an effective form of dialogue. About silence as “eloquence of the body,” about how a film told in words can bring time to standstill and install itself in the lives of the person telling it and the person listening. Talk to Her is a film about the joy of narration and about words as weapons against solitude, disease, death and madness. It is also a film about madness, about the type of madness so close to tenderness and common sense that is does not diverge from normality.’  

La mala educación (Bad Education) 2004 MA15+

La mala educación (Bad Education) 2004 MA15+

Sun 5 Aug 3.00pm and Fri 31 Aug 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 106 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH/LATIN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JOSÉ LUIS ALCAINE / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / ART DIRECTOR: ANTXÓN GÓMEZ / COSTUME DESIGNERS: PACO DELGADO, JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER / MUSIC: ALBERTO IGLESIAS / PRODUCTION CO: CANAL+ ESPAÑA, EL DESEO SA, TELEVISIÓN ESPAÑOLA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ROADSHOW FILMS

‘I like to think that cinemas are a good refuge for murderers and for the lonely. I also like to consider the screen as a mirror of the future.’ Pedro Almodóvar

Bad Education, set in the early 1960s, tells the story of two boys discovering love, cinema and fear during their time at a strict Christian school. Enrique, a burgeoning gay filmmaker, is visited by a school friend, Ignacio. As they reminisce about their days at Catholic school, they confront dark secrets, remembering things they have suppressed for years. With themes of sexual abuse, transsexuality, drug use and metafiction, Bad Education is Almodóvar's darkest film to date. By capitalising on his already visionary style, Almodóvar re-invented himself with a bold and far-reaching evaluation of sexual abuse under General Franco’s religious reign.’ Dundee Contemporary Arts

Bad Education – a clumsy translation from the Spanish ‘La Mala Educación’, meaning ‘bad manners’ or ‘misbehaviour’ – alludes to the sins and schemes of its characters, but their behaviour goes far beyond impoliteness. What the title far more accurately describes is the remarkable career of its creator, which has been nothing if not an extended and highly improbable exercise in gleeful, nose-thumbing, anti-bourgeois provocation.’ Los Angeles Times

Volver 2006 M

Volver 2006 M

Fri 27 July 8.00pm, Sun 12 Aug 3.00pm and Sat 25 Aug 8.00pm / Cinema A

35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 121 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JOSÉ LUIS ALCAINE / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNER: SALVADOR PARRA / MUSIC: ALBERTO IGLESIAS / COSTUME DESIGNER: BINA DAIGELER / PRODUCTION CO: CANAL+ ESPAÑA, EL DESEO SA, MINISTERIO DE CULTURA, TELEVISIÓN ESPAÑOLA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ICON FILMS

Volver meant going back to my childhood in order to say goodbye to it. It isn’t the film that enabled me to get over the grief of my mother, because I had already got over that stage, but it is the one that helped me to make amends with the village where I was born.’ Pedro Almodóvar

‘The tempestuous winds in La Mancha are said to make its denizens insane; they are also alleged to have caused the wildfires that, years ago, orphaned Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and Sole (Lola Dueñas). Raimunda now lives a workaday life in Madrid but her routine is about to be seriously destabilised: around the same time that she finds herself in a crisis involving her daughter and her deadbeat husband, Raimunda’s long-dead mother, Irene (Carmen Maura), begins making appearances in her hometown. Sure enough, Irene shows up and is soon setting about righting some wrongs she was unable to redress before. Volver comes at family secrets and generational gaps from several angles, looking at the split-second impulses that hide the truth — literally. As is so often the case in Almodóvar’s work, the resilience, inventiveness and strong spirit of his female characters enable them to transcend every challenge that comes their way. During his passionate affair with the cinema, Almodóvar has moved through genres, ideas and styles in a whirl that always rewards viewers. With Volver, a film whose titles means “to return”, he confronts some of the spectres that have driven him — death, his La Mancha home, the frustrating passage of time — and has produced an unforgettable film full of humour and love.’ Toronto International Film Festival 

'More than about death itself, Volver is about the rich culture that surrounds death in the region where I was born. It is about the way (not tragic at all) in which various female characters, of different generations, deal with this reality, death.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

Los abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces) 2009 M

Los abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces) 2009 M

Sun 19 Aug 3.00pm and Sat 1 Sept 8.00pm / Cinema A

16MM AND 35MM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 127 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH/ENGLISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / CINEMATOGRAPHER: RODRIGO PRIETO / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNER: ANTXÓN GÓMEZ / ART DIRECTOR: VÍCTOR MOLERO / COSTUME DESIGNER: SONIA GRANDE / MUSIC: ALBERTO IGLESIAS / PRODUCTION CO: CANAL+ ESPAÑA, EL DESEO SA, MINISTERIO DE CULTURA, TELEVISIÓN ESPAÑOLA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Broken Embraces marks something of a reinvention for Almodóvar. After the success of All About My Mother and Volver, he takes the plunge into 1950s American film noir with a tale of dangerous love. Blind writer Harry Caine has to confront his past following the death of Ernesto, a businessman, and the arrival of his aloof son, Ray. In flashbacks to the 1990s we see Harry fall in love with Ernesto’s mistress Lena, subsequently casting her in a film he’s shooting with Ernesto’s backing. Broken Embraces is a welcome attempt to revitalise the neo-noir genre, featuring first-class performances and, as usual, refined direction.’ Dundee Contemporary Arts

'I feel it’s the first time I've made such an express declaration of love to cinema — not with a specific sequence, but with a whole film. To cinema, to its materials, to the people who give all they’ve got around the spotlights, to the actors, editors, narrators, those who write, to the screens that show the images of intrigue and emotions. To films as they were made at the moment they were made. To something that, although you can make a living from it, is not only a profession but also an irrational passion, as passions must be.’ Pedro Almodóvar 

La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In) 2011 MA15+

La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In) 2011 MA15+

Sat 21 July 8.00pm, Sat 11 Aug 8.00pm and Sun 2 Sept 3.00pm / Cinema A

35MM AND HD CAM, COLOUR, DOLBY DIGITAL, 117 MINUTES, SPAIN, SPANISH (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR / SCRIPT: PEDRO ALMODÓVAR, AGUSTÍN ALMODÓVAR / BASED ON THE NOVEL 'TARANTULA' (2005) BY THIERRY JONQUET / CINEMATOGRAPHER: JOSÉ LUIS ALCAINE / EDITOR: JOSÉ SALCEDO / PRODUCTION DESIGNER: ANTXÓN GÓMEZ / ART DIRECTOR: CARLOS BODELÓN / COSTUME DESIGNER: PACO DELGADO / MUSIC: ALBERTO IGLESIAS / PRODUCTION CO: CANAL+ ESPAÑA, EL DESEO SA, INSTITUTO DE CRÉDITO OFICIAL, TELEVISIÓN ESPAÑOLA / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

‘There are irreversible processes, roads of no return, one-way journeys. The Skin I Live In tells the story of one of those processes. The protagonist travels one of those roads against her will; she is forced violently to set out on a journey from which she cannot return. Her Kafkasquese story is the rest of a sentence handed down by a jury made up of just one person, her worst enemy. The verdict, therefore, is a form of extreme revenge.’ Pedro Almodóvar  

‘Contorting the genres of thriller, horror and melodrama, The Skin I Live In eloquently contemplates identity, desire and sexuality. Dr Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is a handsome and wealthy plastic surgeon with a tragic past. His nefarious obsession with transgenic therapy — a way of strengthening human skin through the use of animal genes — incites contention among his col¬leagues and prompts his withdrawal from the community. From the isolation of his mansion on the outskirts of Toledo, he’s able to test the validity of his theories on the beautiful young Vera (Elena Anaya), garbed in a body stocking and kept captive in a room where she’s monitored day and night. At its most profound, The Skin I Live In ponders the question of what makes us who we are through the unwilling transformation of Vera, who practices yoga poses in a desperate effort to strengthen the deepest essence of her being — the one part of her that Dr Ledgard cannot alter.’ Toronto International Film Festival