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Biography #2

Pedro Almodóvar (born September 24, 1949) is a Spanish filmmaker. He was born in Calzada de Calatrava, Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha and grew up in Extremadura. At the age of sixteen he moved to Madrid, he worked in a number of jobs before settling down for twelve years at Telefónica. His first commercial film was shown in 1980 although he had been making short Super 8 or 16 mm films since 1980, Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón (English title: Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom) had been shot over eighteen months. He writes and directs most of his film and has also acted and produced.

Almodóvar is best known for his use of melodrama, improbable circumstances and high camp in his movies. However a theme that recurs in his work is the connections and/or the desire to connect with others. His characters, in all their many forms, are attempting to 'come home', find safety, fulfillment and love with those around them to dispel an almost universal loneliness. Through his use of intellectually and socially marginal characters, Almodóvar is able to take the search for fulfillment to extremes that mainstream society seldom tolerates. The extreme actions undertaken by his characters, like the kidnap and seduction of a woman by a recently released mental patient (played by Antonio Banderas) in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! drives home the point that the urge to be with someone is strong enough to merit drastic action.

Article text released under CC-BY-SA. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pedro Almodovar" (25-Jul-2005)


Biography #3 (for Talk To Her)

He was born in Calzada de Calatrava, province of Ciudad Real, judicial district of Almagro and Archbishopric of Toledo, in the 50s. When he was eight, he moved with his family to Extremadura. There, he studied Primary and Secondary level with the Salesian Fathers and the Franciscans, disrespectively. His religious miseducation only taught him to lose faith in God. At that time, in Cáceres, he started going to the cinema, compulsively.

At sixteen he settled in Madrid, alone, without family or money, but with a very specific aim: to study and make films. It was impossible to enroll in the Official Film School, Franco had just closed it. Given that he couldn't learn the language (the form), he decided to learn the substance, and dedicated himself to living. It was the end of the 60s and, despite the dictatorship, Madrid was, for a provincial adolescent, the city of culture and freedom.

He had many sporadic jobs but couldn't buy his first Super-8 camera until he got a serious job in the National Telephone Company of Spain. He stayed there for twelve years as administrative assistant. Those years were his true education. In the morning (from very early) he was in contact with a social class which otherwise he would not have known so well: the Spanish middle class at the start of the consumer era. Their dramas and misfortunes. A gold mine for a future story teller. In the evening-night, he wrote, loved, performed theater with the group Los Goliardos, made films on Super-8mm. He collaborated with various underground magazines. He wrote stories, some of which were published. He was a member of a parodic punk-rock group, Almodóvar and Mcnamara, etc.

He was fortunate in that the opening of his first film in commercial cinemas coincided with the birth of Spanish democracy. After a year and a half of difficult shooting on 16mm, Pepi, Luci, Bom... had its première in 1980.

From that moment, cinema became his second nature. He wrote and directed. And he lived, enough to be able to carry on making up stories that were alive.

With All About My Mother, he won the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the César, 3 European Film Awards, the David de Donatello, 2 BAFTAs, 7 Goyas and 45 other awards. The awards haven't changed either his perspective of the films he wants to make or his life, except maybe to add a certain pressure to both.

Bio courtesy Sony Classics for "Talk To Her" (25-Nov-2002)


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