Pedro Almodóvar born 24 September 1951
Pedro Almodóvar Caballero is a Spanish film director, screenwriter and producer. He is the most successful and internationally known Spanish film maker of his generation, having won numerous Academy Awards, BAFTAS, Golden Globes and many more both as writer and director.
His films, marked by complex narratives, employ the codes of melodrama and use elements of pop culture, popular songs, irreverent humour, strong colours and glossy décor. Almodóvar never judges his characters actions, whatever they do, but he presents them as they are in all their complexity. Desire, passion, family and identity are the director's favourite themes. Almodóvar’s films enjoy a worldwide following and he has become a major figure on the stage of world cinema. The success of his movies has brought awareness to the cause of equal rights.
Against his parents' wishes, Pedro Almodóvar moved to Madrid in 1967. After completing the compulsory military service, the young man from rural Spain found in Madrid of the late 60s the city, the culture and the freedom. His goal was to be a film director, but he lacked the economic means to do it and besides, Franco had just closed the National School of Cinema so he would be completely self-taught. To support himself, Almodóvar worked a number of odd jobs, including a stint selling used items in the famous Madrid flea market El Rastro. He eventually found full-time employment with Spain's national phone company, where he worked for twelve years as an administrative assistant. Since he worked only until three in the afternoon, he had the rest of the day to pursue his own interests.
In the early seventies, Almodóvar grew interested in experimental cinema and theatre. He collaborated with the vanguard theatrical group, Los Goliardos, where he played his first professional roles and met Carmen Maura. He was also writing comics and contributing articles and stories to a number of counter-culture magazines.
Madrid’s flourishing alternative cultural scene became the perfect scenario for Almodóvar social talents. He was a crucial figure in La Movida Madrileña (Madriliene Movement), a cultural renaissance that followed the fall of the Franco regime.
Around 1974, Almodóvar began making his first short films on a Super-8 camera. By the end of the 1970s they were shown in Madrid's night circuit. These shorts had overtly sexual narratives and no soundtrack.
After four years of working with shorts in Super-8 format, in 1978 Almodóvar made his first Super-8, full-length film. In addition, he made his first 16 mm short, Salome. This was his first contact with the professional world of cinema. The film's stars, Carmen Maura and Felix Rotaeta, encouraged him to make his first feature film in 16 mm and helped him raise the money to finance what would be Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón.
Since then he has made 16 cinematic films including Matador (1986), his first major international success Women On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), All About My Mother (1999), Talk To Her (2002), Bad Education (2004) and Volver (2006).
He can also be credited with bringing two Spanish stars to an international audience - Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz.
A theatrical version of All About My Mother was staged in the West End in 2007.
His next film, Broken Hugs, will star his most recent muse, Penelope Cruz.
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