Tuesday, July 30, 2013

All About Almodóvar: an X-rated Video Crash Course

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 9:33 AM

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I'm So Excited! opens at the Bijou on August 2. It's Pedro Almodóvar's first straight-ahead comedy in many years and it reunites him with friends Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas (with small roles at the beginning) and Cecilia Roth, one of the early and most acclaimed "chicas Almodóvar" (Almodóvar girls) ever. Here's a quick compilation of Almodóvar's filmography. Use the English caption options where applicable. Enjoy!

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

Rape, revenge, pot. A breath of fresh air in Spanish cinema after four decades of Francisco Franco's dictatorship. Warning: if you're not into bathroom humor and poor synching, go to the next page.

Labyrinth of Passion (Laberinto de pasiones, 1982)

If characters like a nymphomaniac named Sexilia and a gay Muslim terrorist don't make you want to watch this one, I don't know what will.

Dark Habits (Entre tinieblas, 1983)

The Church according to Almodóvar: gay nuns on drugs protecting a fugitive nightclub singer.

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

Probably my personal favorite along with High Heels and The Flower of my Secret. A cab driver who is also a forger, an abused woman addicted to pills, a grandma who sells drugs and is herself addicted to bottled water and cupcakes, and a little girl next door with telekinetic powers.

Matador (1986)

Murder, bullfighting, sex, and religion meet in this masterpiece many consider Almodóvar's best. Along with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, in 1988 it won a Special Award for Almodóvar from the National Society of Film Critics (USA) for originality.

Law of Desire (La ley del deseo, 1987)

This look at the complicated sexual life of a filmmaker makes Fellini's 8 1/2 look like Bambi. Audience Award winner at the 1987 San Francisco International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

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

The movie that made Almodóvar explode worldwide. Winner of six Goya Awards (including Best Picture and Director) and nominated as Best Foreign Film in both the Golden Globes and the Oscars.

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (Átame! 1990)

Rather than following the success of Women... with another formula-driven comedy, Almodóvar continued making noise with this controversial film where Antonio Banderas kidnaps and forces a porn star to be his wife. "You have to be reasonable," he says when she complains.

High Heels (Tacones lejanos, 1991)

A funny, heart-wrenching, and dead-on look at a mother-daughter love-hate relationship. Marisa Paredes and Victoria Abril are superb, but superstar pop singer Miguel Bosé steals the movie in his dual role as a judge and transvestite. Golden Globe nominee as Best Foreign Film.

Kika (1993)

A cosmetologist, an American writer (Peter Coyote) and a psychologist-turned-trash TV anchorwoman that makes Geraldo look like Walter Cronkite.

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

Almodóvar changes gears and delivers a moving story of a novelist nicknamed Amanda Gris who gets hired by a newspaper and whose first assignment is to review... her own novel.

Live Flesh (Carne trémula, 1997)

A return to one of Almodóvar's favorite themes: the flesh, that weak thing.

All About my Mother (Todo sobre mi madre, 1999)

This nod to All About Eve and John Cassavetes' Opening Night finally gave Almodóvar what he had deserved for a long time: a Golden Globe and an Oscar as Best Foreign Film, seven Goyas and two directing awards at Cannes. Hands down, his most successful film.

Talk to Her (Hable con ella, 2002)

Almodóvar stayed red-hot with this one: he won a Best Original Screenplay Oscar and a Golden Globe as Best Foreign Film.

Bad Education (La mala educación, 2004)

Mexico's Gael García Bernal (Y tu mamá también, Amores perros) stars in Almodóvar's first period piece, an examination of life under Franco and how victims of priest child abuse deal with their abusers in the 80s, with Spain free again.

Volver (2006)

Penélope Cruz is superb in this gem that won five Goyas. A look at the after life and coming back to life after death.

Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos, 2009)

Full of twists and turns, it's hard to talk about this one without giving it away. Let's just say his fourth with Penélope Cruz in the starring role is one of Almodóvar's most intense and unpredictable.

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

Adapting Thierry Jonquet's novel Mygale, Almodóvar tackles horror by reuniting with and bringing the best out of Antonio Banderas (in his first Almodóvar role since Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!).

I'm So Excited (Los amantes pasajeros, 2013)

If you're ever going to die on a plane crash, it better be on this flight. The movie opens August 2 at the Bijou.


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