Pedro Almodóvar

the opening scene of Talk to Her (2002)

the opening scene of Talk to Her (2002)

  • Born:  1949
  • Rank:  69
  • Score:  545.40
  • Awards:  BAFTA / LAFC / numerous Foreign Film awards (including an Oscar) / won Oscar for screenplay
  • Nominations:  Oscar / BAFTA
  • Feature Films:  16
  • Best:  Talk to Her
  • Worst:  Dark Habits

Top 5 Films:

  1. Talk to Her – 2002
  2. All About My Mother – 1999
  3. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – 1988
  4. Volver – 2006
  5. Bad Education – 2004

Top 10 Best Director Finishes (Nighthawk Awards):

  • 1988 – 7th – Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
  • 1999 – 8th – All About My Mother
  • 2002 – 7th – Talk to Her
  • 2006 – 10th – Volver

Pedro Almodóvar started out in Franco’s Spain making films with a Super 8.  He eventually became a big deal in the counter culture movement of late 70’s Spain before he started making feature length films.  His films through the early part of the 80’s are odd, usually funny, but a bit uneven.  Then in 1988 the world discovered him and with great reason – the deserved success of Women on the Verge of a Nervous BreakdownWomen established him as Spain’s foremost filmmaker since the death of Luis Bunuel and he continued making his odd form of comedy through the 90’s, before again taking the world by storm (and this time winning the Foreign Film Oscar that he had been nominated for in 88) with All About My Mother.

Mother signaled a new maturity in his films, as four of his five best films have been his most recent.  They are still Pedro’s special brand of odd, they are still usually funny (though there is much more tragedy and a new level of seriousness in these newer films) and they are damn, damn good.  If I had made this list ten years ago, he probably would not have made it in spite of my fondness for his films, but with each new film he has moved himself up.  His next film, Broken Embraces, again making use of Penelope Cruz (until Woody Allen directed her to an Oscar, Pedro was the only person to make full use of Penelope’s talent) will be arriving here in November and it will probably move him up again.

Talk to Her – #7 film of 2002

“The same thing we all do for each other.  We try to make sure people don’t fall.”  Pedro didn’t write that, I did, some two years before Talk to Her was even released, but it is the perfect description for the early part of the film.  Two men watch a theatre production, one describing the action, one crying.  They watch a woman on-stage running around in a blind fury while a man moves furniture out of her way, keeping her from crashing and falling.  These two men will give us our film and the way they sit next to each other in the theatre will provide a beautiful bookend to the film.

One of these men is Marco and he wears his emotions on his sleeve.  The beauty of what he sees on the stage brings his tears and we see him cry several times in the film, all of them powerful, all of them real.  At the end he will be at the theatre again and he will be crying again and the reaction this time will bring forth new life.

The other man is Benigno, a nurse who attends to a young woman in a coma.  At first the only connection between the two men is that they sit next to each other.  But later, in the course of Marco’s life and Benigno’s job, their lives will intersect again and they will form an odd friendship.  And then they will be separated and what happens while they are apart will bring more tears from Marco.

In between there are the odds moment on-stage and a truly bizarre little film, the kind of odd moments that no one but Pedro could have possibly given us.  At the end, we will have come full circle, but a circle that is not completely round.  And like Lone Star, life, love will have found a way.

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