Pedro Almodóvar: I Want To Recapture The Joy of My Early Films

2:36 PM PST 11/10/2011 by Andy Lewis

The Spanish director talked with THR about The Pedro Almodóvar Archives as long-time friend Antonio Banderas joined him for the book launch at the Taschen Store.

Pedro Almodovar, the acclaimed Spanish director, launched his new career-retrospective book The Pedro Almodóvar Archives with a party at the Taschen Store in Beverly Hills.  Antonio Banderas, Almodovar’s long-time friend and collaborator, conducted a short question-and-answer session with the director before Almodóvar signed a small run of early prints of the book for the approximately 150 fans who pre-ordered it.  The book will be widely available for purchase in December.

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Before the reception, Almodóvar talked with The Hollywood Reporter about the project.  He confessed that he was surprised at what he learned in putting together the book:

“It has returned to me an image of my youth that I had almost forgotten.  And I discovered that I continue to be the same person.  And I have also discovered that a lot of my tone has changed over these last 31 years because I lost some of the joy that was there in the first movies. I still celebrate life and cinema and living but there is something about the tone that has darkened and I could see that trajectory in the book. . . . I would like to come back to the beginning."

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Almodóvar said he would like to recapture some of that “scattershot humor” in his next film and balance it with his adult maturity.  Almodóvar also confessed that he’d like to make a big adventure movie someday, especially something like H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, which comes from his favorite period of late 19th century big novels.

Antonio Banderas introduced Almodóvar to the crowd, mixing light humor with a reminder of the political context of Almodóvar’s early films.  The easy chemistry between the long-time collaborators was clearly evident—Banderas made his first film with Almodóvar in 1982 and they just teamed up for The Skin I Live In.  Banderas recalled that the person who introduced him to the director said, “He is Pedro Almodovar.  He made one movie and he will never do a second one.” 

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But the actor also struck a serious note, reminding the audience that Almodóvar made his first film even before the death of Spain’s fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and that as the country transitioned to democracy in the 1980s, Almodovar’s films were both political and artistic statements.

The Pedro Almodóvar Archives is a beautiful and fascinating look back at the director’s career.  He gave publisher Taschen unprecedented access to his personal archives, including never-before-published images and personal photos.  Almodóvar personally wrote the captions for the photos in the book.  Prominent Spanish authors contributed short essays about each of his films and Almodóvar wrote the photo captions.  The first printing of 12,500 copies features an actual piece of 35mm film cut from Volver embedded in the title page.

In the end, Almodóvar seems pleased with the end result.  “I recognize myself in it, which is the best you could say about one book.”

 

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