Campy, kitsch, and deliriously deranged, the films of Pedro Almodóvar mix melodrama and humor in flamboyant storytelling reminiscent of the Español telenovela. Spanish film director, screenwriter, and producer Almodóvar came to prominence during La Movida Madrileña, a cultural renaissance that followed the death of dictator Francisco Franco. His first films embodied the sense of sexual and political freedom of the period. Nourished in the experimental theatre and cinema underground of Madrid, Almodóvar first made short films on Super 8. In 1986, he established his own film production company, El Deseo, with his brother Agustín Almodóvar, which has since produced all his films.
Pedro Almodóvar movies are marked by reoccurring actors, complex narratives, and a unique visual style that draws on popular culture and makes use of strong colors and glossy décor. Desire, passion, family, and identity are among the Spanish auteur’s most prevalent themes. Gay, transgender, and ‘queer’ characters of all sorts populate his stories. Women usually hold central roles in his plots and actresses like Penelope Cruz and Rossy de Palma have steered his best movies to Oscar success as well as hosts of other prestigious awards.
TASCHEN’s monograph on Almodóvar captures his entire oeuvre in a stunning spread of photographs. The book reflects on his filmography, and includes archival and personal images from movies including The Skin I Live In, Matador, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Volver, Julieta, Broken Embraces, Bad Education, and High Heels. With introductions to each of his films, the book is a tribute to Almodóvar’s cinematic achievements. While lurid lowlifes and unhinged sexuality still feature hard and fast in his work, Pedro Almodóvar’s emotional complexity and stylistic elegance canonize his films as classic arthouse cinema with a unique Spanish flavor.