In full command of both Hollywood stylistics and camp aesthetics, Spain's Pedro Almodóvar (b. 1951) has become a master of the audacious and the unorthodox, of the permissive and the polemical.
Pedro Almodóvar: Interviews documents the 22-year-long cinematic career of the most internationally celebrated Spanish art-film director since Luís Buñuel. Many of these interviews, from French, Italian, and Spanish periodicals, appear for the first time in English.
Almodóvar's early cinematic ventures in Super 8 and 16mm in the 1970s marked and memorialized the rise of the Movida, Madrid's underground vanguard artistic movement. Almodóvar's critical success in his native Spain came with What Have I Done to Deserve This? Almodóvar made his mark in the United States with his kitschy, melodramatic comedy and Academy Award nominee Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and his outlandish and irreverently funny Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
For all its taboo-breaking plots, eccentric characterizations, and explosive palettes, Almodóvar's cinema of excess has matured into one of tender compassion. All About My Mother, winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and of Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, and his fourteenth feature to date, Talk to Her, winner of the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, 2003, cement Almodóvar's commitment to characters on the margins and to social critique.
Covering more than two decades, the interviews collected here trace Almodóvar's journey from the small village of Calzada de Calatrava to Madrid, from his humble and Catholic provincial upbringing to his superstar status as Spain's leading postmodern auteur. Originally published in Spain, France, Italy, and the United States, these conversations disclose as much about Almodóvar's personal biography as they do about his thematic universe, his directorial personality, and his maturing style.
Paula Willoquet-Maricondi is assistant professor of media arts at Marist College, in Poughkeepsie, New York. She is the co-editor of Peter Greenaway's Postmodern/Poststructuralist Cinema.