Icon: Pedro Almodóvar
The Icon section, introduced in 2018, focuses on remarkable film directors and traces their ways to the top. The last three editions were strongly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented us from inviting foreign experts on renowned filmmakers. This year, we are very happy to return to the usual model.
The programme has been put together by José Arroyo, a lecturer at University of Warwick and an expert on Pedro Almodóvar’s filmography. Besides many scientific articles and publications, he provides expert introductions to Almodóvar’s films released on DVD or Blu-ray and analyses his work in his podcast (First Impressions – Notes on Films and Culture).
Here are a couple of words by José Arroyo himself: “Pedro Almodóvar is now in his fifth decade as a filmmaker. In his early films and up to What Have I Done to Deserve This (1984) he was the darling of the Madrid underground arts scene (La nueva movida Madrileña) as well as the artist who best documented it. A brave filmmaker, the first film produced by his own production company was The Law of Desire (1987), a gay melodrama that managed to make that which had previously been forbidden and taboo into a flag-waving symbol of the new post-Franco Spain at home and abroad. With Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), he turned a female-centred screwball into the biggest box-office success in the history of Spanish cinema. Since then, he’s transformed from a not very technically skillful filmmaker at the beginning of his career to an acknowledged old master of the medium (Talk to Her, 2002, The Skin I Live In, 2011). A filmmaker who knows how to make audiences cry (All About My Mother, 1999) whilst tackling complex issues of gender and sexuality (Live Flesh, 1997, Bad Education, 2006). An auteur who mixes genres, mines the personal (Pain and glory, 2019) and creates formally daring work that often incites laughter and tears. An oeuvre to experience.”
The section was created in collaboration with the Cervantes Institute in Prague.