The Spanish Language Blog

Pedro Almodóvar Caballer, born Sept. 24, 1951 is Spain's best-known film director. Almodóvar arrived in Madrid in 1968 and survived by selling secondhand goods at the famous flea market "El Rastro". Almodóvar could not attend film school because he both did not have the money and the school was closed during the time of General Franco. Almodóvar found a job with a Spanish telephone company and saved money to buy a Super 8 camera. From 1972 to 1978, he lived for making short films with the help of friends. These short films were distributed throughout Spain and quickly became well-known among people. In the following years, Almodóvar became a star of "La Movida," a cultural movement against General Franco in the 1970s. In 1980 the first Almodóvar film was released this film was called "Pepi, Luci, bom y otras chicas del montón". In 1987 Pedro and his brother Agustín Almodóvar started their own production company called "El Deseo", S. A. The ´´Almodóvar phenomenon´´ had by now reached the whole world and his Spanish films became known in many countries.

His successful career began after the years of Franco (movida madrileña). In the time after Franco's death and the subsequent process of democratization, many young artists expressed themselves with work that was provocative. Almodóvar also participated in this by making films with themes such as drug use, transvestism, transsexuality, homosexuality, prostitution and also brought up abuses in the Catholic Church.

In his Spanish films, Almodóvar has a strong preference for a number of actresses. A few examples are: Carmen Maura, Chus Lampreave, Marisa Paredes, Rossy de Palma, Cecilia Roth and Penélope Cruz. Antonio Banderas also broke through through Almodóvar's Spanish films.

Below is a list of all Spanish films, also called the Almodóvar films:

  • 1978 – Folle... folle... fólleme Tim!*
  • 1980 – Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón*
  • 1982 – Laberinto de pasiones
  • 1983 – Entre tinieblas
  • 1984 - ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?
  • 1986 – Matador
  • 1987 – La ley del deseo*
  • 1988 – Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios*
  • 1990 - ¡Átame!
  • 1991 – Tacones lejanos
  • 1993 – Kika*
  • 1995 – La flor de mi secreto
  • 1997 – Carne trémula*
  • 1999 – Todo sobre mi madre*
  • 2002 – Hable con ella
  • 2004 – La mala educación*
  • 2006 – Volver
  • 2009 – Los abrazos rotos
  • 2011 – La piel que habito

Below are the films that have had the greatest impact on Almodóvar and the rest of the world.

As mentioned earlier, "Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón" was Almodóvar's first feature-length film. Financed by his friends and made within 16 months. This film was such a success that Almodóvar quickly rose to prominence as a provocateur with a film that gave the feeling of cultural and sexual freedom. Because the film ran for years in independent circuits, Almodóvar was able to collect funds for his subsequent films.

"La ley del Deseo" was the first film to ever receive the "Teddy Award." The film also received the Best Film of the Year award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

In 1988, Almodóvar produced the film "Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios." A film that was very well received internationally and later nominated for an Oscar for Best Non-English Language Film. This film also won a number of Goyas (Best Film, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Screenplay and Best Editing).

"Kika" a Spanish film with extravagant clothes designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier and José Maria Cossio in collaboration with Gianni Versace. A fun fact about the film is that Pedro Almodóvar's mother has a small supporting role in it.

The only Spanish film Almodóvar has directed based on a book is "Carne trémula." It starred Javier Bardem and for the male supporting actor José Sancho received a Goya in 1998. The film is set in the 1970s, when General Franco declared a state of emergency until such time as Spain had thrown off all restrictions.

Todo sobre mi madre (All About My Mother) starring Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Candela Peña, Antonia San Juan and Penélope Cruz. In 1999, the film won an Academy Award for best foreign film and even 7 awards at the Goya´s ceremony including Best Director, Best Film and Best Female Lead.

The only film Pedro Almodóvar took about 10 years to write out is the film "La mala educación"(The Bad Education). A story inspired by memories from three important periods in the Spanish era (Franco era, end of the regime and the movida madrileña). A film about the friendship between two boys who meet at a Catholic school in the 1960s and only meet again in the 1980s. This film also presents central themes of sexual abuse, transsexuality, drug abuse and homosexuality. For this the film gained much respect in 2004 and opened the 57th edition of the Cannes Film Festival that same year as the first Spanish film. In total, the film brought in $40 million and in the United States $5.2 million, this is extraordinary for a film in a foreign language.

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