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Viva Pedro: The Almodovar Collection (Talk to Her/ Bad Education/ All about My Mother/ Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown/ Live Flesh/ Flower of My Secret / Matador / Law of Desire)

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Editorial Reviews

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Pedro Almodovar broke into the art-house mainstream with this wild, manic comedy about a gaggle of women and their various problems with men, be they married lovers, cheating husbands, fiancés, or terrorists. Almodovar's long-time leading lady, Carmen Maura, stars as an actress (famed for her laundry detergent commercial as the mother of a sloppy serial killer) who's just been dumped by her married lover. In the midst of trying to track him down for a face-to-face confrontation, she crosses paths with her lover's son (Antonio Banderas), his unbalanced wife (Julieta Serrano), and his new girlfriend (Kiti Manver). Adding more fuel to the fire is the hapless friend (Maria Barranco) who got involved with a Shiite terrorist and is now being hunted by the police. Almodovar, a master of farcical screwball comedy, manages to keep all these balls in the air in dizzy, hilarious style without once losing his momentum. Chock full of the director's over-the-top stylization, in terms of both story and sets, the film is a hilarious yet heartfelt marriage of kitsch and drama, verging on parody but never going entirely over the top. Maura is absolutely breathtaking as the unhinged lover, dispensing wise advice to others while trying to keep a semblance of sanity, and the supporting cast is quintessential Almodovar, including a brief but memorable turn by Banderas in what could have been a bland, go-nowhere role. Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1989. --Mark Englehart

All About My Mother After her son is killed in an accident, Manuela (Cecilia Roth) leaves Madrid for her old haunts in Barcelona. She reconnects with an old friend, a pre-op transsexual prostitute named La Agrado (Antonia San Juan), who introduces her to Rosa (Penélope Cruz), a young nun who turns out to be pregnant. Meanwhile, Manuela becomes a personal assistant for Huma Rojo (Marisa Paredes), an actress currently playing Blanche DuBois in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. All About My Mother traces the delicate web of friendship and loss that binds these women together. The movie is dedicated to the actresses of the world, so it's not surprising that all the performances are superb. Roth in particular anchors All About My Mother with compassion and generosity. But fans of writer-director Pedro Almodóvar needn't fret--as always, Almodóvar's work undermines conventional notions of sexual identity and embraces all human possibilities with bright colors and melodramatic plotting. However, All About My Mother approaches its twists and turns with a broader emotional scope than most of Almodóvar's work; even the more extravagant aspects of the story are presented quietly, to allow the sadness of life to be as present as the irrepressible vitality of the characters. Almodóvar embraces pettiness, jealousy, and grief as much as kindness, courage, and outrageousness, and the movie is the richer for it. ----Bret Fetzer

Talk to Her
Writer-director Pedro Almodóvar makes another masterpiece with Talk to Her, his first film since the wonderful All About My Mother. Marco (Dario Grandinetti) is in love with Lydia (Rosario Flores), a female bullfighter who is gored by a bull and sent into a coma. In the hospital, Marco crosses paths with Benigno (Javier Camara), a male nurse who looks after another coma patient, a young dancer named Alicia (Leonor Watling). From Benigno's gentle attentiveness to Alicia, Marco learns to take care of Lydia... but from there, the story goes in directions that deftly manage to be sad, hopeful, funny, and creepy, sometimes at the same time. The rich human empathy of Almodóvar's recent films is passionate, heartbreaking, intoxicating--there aren't enough adjectives to praise this remarkable filmmaker, who is at the height of his powers. Talk to Her is superb, with outstanding performances from all involved. --Bret Fetzer

The Flower of My Secret
Pedro Alomodóvar made this misfired, rambling comedy about a romance novelist (Marisa Paredes) whose crumbling marriage has left her depressed and unable to work. At a low point, she writes a scathing indictment of her own books (which are penned under another name), with no one realizing critic and author are one and the same. Almodóvar ( Law of Desire) has the start of a great idea here, and for once, he's direct about his sympathy for a character. But nothing else about The Flower of My Secret is so clear. Despite its unusual allegiance to the straightforward "women's films" of the 1950s, this movie blows it by becoming needlessly complicated over extraneous junk, forcing one to grope in the dark for Almodóvar's point. -- Tom Keogh

Bad Education
Writer/director Pedro Almodóvar's dark, sexy Hitchcock homage is his best work since his Oscar-winning All About My Mother, and deepened by a sun-dappled sadness. Handsome, enigmatic Ángel (Gael García Bernal) arrives at the Spanish movie offices of director Enrique Goded (Fele Martinez) and happily proclaims that he's actually Enrique's long-lost school chum Ignacio--an announcement that is both less than convincing and more than it seems. A novice actor, Ángel pitches a semi-autobiographical screenplay in which he's determined to star, a revenge-laden reflection of the doomed love he and Enrique shared as boys before a pedophile priest cruelly intervened. The script, and the lost days it recalls, carefully unfurls into a series of brooding movies-within-movies and memories-inside-memories, which allow the sensual, multiple-role-playing Bernal to give the performance of his young career--among other things, he makes a stunningly convincing drag queen--and Almodóvar the opportunity to movingly suggest that people will pay any price to ensure that their stories are told. -- Steve Wiecking

More Stills from Pedro Almodovar Classics Collection(click for larger image)

More Pedro Almodovar at

Songs of Almodóvar CD


The Films of Pedro Almodóvar

Special Features

  • 8 films, including: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, All About My Mother, Talk to Her, The Flower of My Secret, Live Flesh, Law of Desire, Matador, Bad Education
  • Bonus disc with three exclusive featurettes
  • 8 postcards

Product Details

  • Actors: Carmen Maura, Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano, Rossy de Palma, Assumpta Serna
  • Directors: Pedro Almodovar
  • Writers: Pedro Almodovar, Dorothy Parker, Jesús Ferrero, Jorge Guerricaechevarría, Ray Loriga
  • Format: Box set, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 8
  • Rated: NC-17
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 835 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EAT24G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,931 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Viva Pedro: The Almodovar Collection (Talk to Her/ Bad Education/ All about My Mother/ Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown/ Live Flesh/ Flower of My Secret / Matador / Law of Desire)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Certainly one of the most lauded of international filmmakers, Pedro Almodovar's films can be notoriously hard to come by on the US market. Generally after an initial release, they have gone out of print and have disappeared from mainstream buying outlets. It seems strange, Almodovar is easily one of the best known and most acclaimed Spanish filmmakers in history. Having been recognized worldwide, been honored by the Oscars, and having worked with stars that have crossed into the English language film world such as Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz--you would think that his films would be more readily available. So, it is with delight that I welcome "Viva Pedro"--a collection of 8 films that show the colorful and dynamic world that is Pedro Almodovar. And while not a complete showcase of his larger work--I lament the exclusion of "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down"--there is much to rejoice. This set is great for lovers of Almodovar, and priced right for new viewers who wish to get some very significant films at a reasonable cost.

Starting with films from the late 80s, Almodovar uses colorful imagery and melodramatic acting to create some very personal films about love, desire and sex. Often done in an over-the-top, almost soap opera style, these films are instantly recognizable due to Almodovar's distinctive visual flair. All three films from the 80s showcase a young Banderas. "Matador" is a sly black comedy featuring an ex-bullfighter who ties death and killing with sexual excitement. "Law of Desire" is a seriocomic look at sexual desire and obsession that crosses various gender lines.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Nathaniel M. Thompson on January 31, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Obviously anyone with more than a passing interest in Almodovar will want this set, which averages out to a pretty decent price considering what you get. Good news first: Matador and Law of Desire, the two new-to-DVD titles, look excellent (especially the latter), and are practically worth picking up the set for by themselves. (Too bad Sony couldn't have released 'em separately; oh well.) Bad Education, Flower of My Secret, Live Flesh and Talk to Her are identical to the previous releases. The back of the box touts new digital remastering for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and All About My Mother, but both of those are botched pretty badly. Women frankly looks terrible, especially compared to the previous MGM release; it's severely overcropped on all four sides (good luck trying to read the credits) and way too bright, with artificial sharpness and serious desaturation on the colors. All About My Mother does look a bit cleaner and crisper than the previous release, but it's bare bones; hold on to the older Sony release for all the extra goodies. The box is very attractive and comes with postcard replicas of the theatrical posters -- a nice touch. The bonus disc features some decent featurettes with various actors talking about working with Pedro; unfortunately, only the trailer for Volver is included as an additional bonus.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By ronnrickett on January 19, 2007
Format: DVD
This box-set has been too long in coming.
I'm most excited about this set due to the inclusion of 'Law of Desire', which I have never seen and have not been able to find a copy of locally.
Pedro's films are beautiful, messy, sad, hilarious and just about any other adjective you can think of.
Those who have seen his films will no doubt add this to their collection and understand my love of anything Pedro.
Those movie lovers who have not seen some or all of his work, will most definately want to add this set to their collection and I hope that they will introduce new fans to Pedro Almodovar's brilliant work!
peace :o)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Flipper Campbell VINE VOICE on February 12, 2007
Format: DVD
This is a fine set, with handsome but awkward packaging (watch the spindles) and decent extras. These are the same films that made the art-house circuit before the release of "Volver." Almodovar's earlier films aren't easily found in the U.S. -- at least at your local Blockbuster -- and so we welcome "Live Flesh," "Matador" and "Law of Desire." The thriller "Matador" was last seen on laser and VHS two decades ago. It's terrific here, awash in color and black comedy, although the shock value has lost some of its power over the unruly decades.

The remastered version of "Women on the Verge" doesn't feel like a big upgrade. "All My Mother's" makeover is more elegant, with fine flesh tones. "Talk to Her," "Bad Education," and "Flower" appear to be straight port-overs from the single discs already available here. In general, audio is uneven but good. Subtitles take some liberties. Unfortunately, the early '90s films "Tie Me Up!" and "Kika" aren't part of the deal. Antonio Banderas shows up in three films; Penelope Cruz is in two, but only at length in "All About My Mother." Watching these films more or less back to back is quite the rewarding experience -- you'll laugh, cry and spend a lot of time trying to figure out if you're watching a man or woman. Viva Pedro! indeed.

Your mileage may vary, but I rank these films like this:

1. All About My Mother

2. Women on the Verge

3. Matador

4. Talk to Her

5. Law of Desire

6. Bad Education

7. Flower of My Secret

8. Live Flesh
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So-is this version of "Bad Education" NC-17 or R?
According to the DVD label on "Bad Education" in the set, the version included is the NC-17 version. I haven't actually watched it yet, but I would assume the labeling to be correct.
Feb 5, 2007 by J. Moore |  See all 5 posts
aspect ratio
I can't say with any certainty, but I think they are all widescreen. Amazon sometimes list films as fullscreen 4:3 when they are actually widescreen.
Nov 2, 2008 by G. Barnes |  See all 2 posts
What's sad...
Sony can only release those films that it has the US distribution rights to.
Jan 31, 2007 by ChrisWN |  See all 2 posts
According to Amazon, Bad Education is the edited version, instead of the original version. This is really quite a shame. It does not make sense especially considering that others included in this box set are NC-17.
Jan 8, 2007 by Vaca |  See all 5 posts
Is there a French Subtitled
The Viva Pedro-Almodovar collection has only english subtitles with original spanish sound
Jul 23, 2008 by John L |  See all 2 posts
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