Tuesday, August 15, 2006

¡Vota por mí!

To celebrate Sony Pictures Classics "Viva Pedro!" series (now showing on the coasts and coming to larger cities near you) I'm running a poll for who is the greatest muse of word class director Pedro Almodovar.

It's a tough choice, right?

The upcoming Volver reunites Pedro with his most frequent star, Carmen Maura but she's been MIA (as far as Pedro movies go) for almost 20 years. In the meantime Pedro has been playing the field.

A total of twelve women have been featured in three or more of his films (if I missed someone, let me know). You've got your troupe regulars like the unforgettable Rossy De Palma, Chus Lampreave (who I left out of the poll. oops), comedic Loles Leon, Kika herself Veronica Forque not to mention Kiti Manver, Cristina Sanchez Pascual, and Eva Siva.

Then most visibly there are the international stars. They cross movie-making borders --most frequently to French, Argentinian, and American cinema. Carmen Maura was his undisputed queen in the 1980s. Sextastic fantastic Victoria Abril and grande dame Marisa Paredes reigned in the 90s. Penélope Cruz and Cecilia Roth pop in and out of the filmography, doing their best work for the famed auteur.

Pedro has been on a sensational run of acclaimed hits and Oscar nominees in the aughts (what filmmaker can beat this consecutive triple: All About My Mother, Talk To Her, Bad Education?) but if you're a new fan start from the beginning. It's one of the great filmographies. "Viva Pedro!", despite it's glaring omissions (where are Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! and What Have I Done To Deserve This? for starters? I'd put them in for Live Flesh and Matador), should be great fun.

Don't miss this series if it comes to your city. If you only have time for a couple choose wisely. I'd skipped the recent offerings (you've seen them already) and go for his hilarious breakthrough Women on the Verge... (I hadn't seen it in 16 years and I laughed my ass off) and my personal fav from the whole damn genius filmography, Law of Desire.

Which Almodovarian heroine is the one for you?
(my thanks to Astroboy for the subtitling...)

tags: Pedro Almodovar, movies, Spain, Penelope Cruz, Marisa Paredes, Carmen Maura, Victoria Abril, Oscars, Academy Awards


c.p. iñor said...





Anonymous said...

And Pedro's wonderful run continues with Volver, which is as sassy and entertaining as Bad Education but more effortless-seeming and - for me - more moving.

Also as far as I'm concerned, this wonderful run began not with All About My Mother (though that's his first full blown masterpiece) but with Live Flesh, which I only caught for the first time about three weeks ago, and which I enjoyed thoroughly.

I think Almodovar may be my favourite filmmaker working today (along with the far less prolific Errol Morris and Terrence Malick).

My favourite of his muses would probably be Carmen Maura based purely on the work she's done for him (if we're also inclusing work done for other directors, Marisa Paredes might overtake her). It was especially lovely to see Carmen in Volver since I'd been missing her desperately in recent years.

Yaseen Ali said...

Of course, there are no plans to screen the series in Toronto (or anywhere in Canada for that matter).

*shakes fist angrily*

adam k. said...

That was funny.

Does Gael Garcia Bernal count? He worked with Pedro 3 times in one film! And one of the roles was a woman...

I can't wait to see All About My Mother in theaters.

Anonymous said...

Law of Desire had the sexiest performance by Antonio Banderas (drool). I've never seen it on the big screen and can't wait for the restropective to arrive in San Francisco.

Glenn Dunks said...

Much like Ali, I doubt Viva Pedro will come to Australia, although there is a cinema in the city that does director respectives (with the release of 2046 they had a Kar Wai one, but I couldn't go) so maybe they'll have something. I haven't seen any of Pedro's early stuff, but the ones I have seen (only one in the cinema mind you) have all been great.

1. All About My Mother (A)
2. Bad Education (A-)
3. Live Flesh (A-)
4. Talk to Her (A-)
5. The Flower of my Secret (B)

and I fully anticipate seeing titles like Women on the Verge, Bad Habits, Tie Me Up, Laws of Desire etc in the (hopefully) near future. And of course Volver.

Can someone answer me how Volver is supposed to be pronounced? It is like "re-volver" or "volv-air". I've heard both.

Anonymous said...

It seems you don't like Live Flesh very much... I think it is a masterpiece, so he has a big-four: LF, AAMM, TTH, and BE.

cal roth


no actually i really like Live Flesh... it's just they only chose eight films... and if there's only eight, it's not in the most important eight I don't think. (I adore all the fetishizing of Javier Bardem getting in and out of his chair though)

I have not seen every Almodovar --(something I am trying to remedy) but I've seen most of them and I hold a special place in my heart for Atame! --mostly because Victoria Abril and Antonio Banderas might be the single best coupling in an Almodovar film. Both give terrific performances too.

the only Pedro I haven't liked at all is Matador but maybe I should give it a second chance. (?)

Anonymous said...

I think Matador is decent nasty fun, but it does feel like a bit of a dry run for Law of Desire and Women on the Verge..

StinkyLulu said...



Nick M. said...

I shall be seeing A Woman on the Verge of a Breakdown this Friday.

Go me.

Anonymous said...

Where's the Leonor Watling love?

adam k. said...

To really pronounce "volver" correctly, you need to do it with a spanish accent. But I would say it's closer to 'volv-air'.

How are they releasing these? I don't quite get it. All at once? One at a time in sequence? Hm.


they're not going in order for some reason. it's one film per week i believe.

Javier Aldabalde said...

StinkyLulu is correct.

Btw, Penélope Cruz's turn in "Volver" is one of the very best in any Almodóvar feature.

Pedro said...

My favorite is Mujeres al borde... (Women on the Verge). I also laughed my ass off.

I think his muse is Maura (but who can minimize Antonio Banderas’ effect).

Regarding the pronunciation of volver, it will depend on the Country you are in. In Puerto Rico it would be more like bolbel (we do not distinguish between the fricative “v” and the sound of the “b”; we pronounce both as “b”. Also, in Puerto Rico the “r” at the end of a word is usually pronounced as “l”. That is not the case in the majority of the Spanish speaking Countries). One language, different ways to pronounce the same word.

El Mediodía said...

I'm sorry to have to say this Pedro, but pronunciation-wise, there's one way and only one way to speak every letter. The differences are a product of accents(such as caribbean r for l at the end, or argentinian ll/y for sh), not pronunciation.

About the poll, I'd choose Carmen Maura and Cecilia Roth.

Emma said...

It's bol-behr

Pedro said...

Dear mediodia:

Not necessarily. The "z", "c" nad "s" are pronounced different in Spain than in the rest of the Spanish speaking countries. The "z" and "c" are pronounced similarly to the "th" in think. In the Spanish of the America's, the "z" and "c" are pronounced as "s". The phonemes for those letters are different in Spain and in America.

walypala said...

I agree, I was astonished at the absence of What Have I Done To Deserve This?, easily one of El Pedro's most irreverently entertaining films, and for me one of his best. A brilliant forum for Chus Lampreave. She is a comic genius! 7 Almodóvar flicks under her petticoat and she's missed off the list... the poor dear gets my vote anyway.

And to make room? Kick off Matador, I find it the least typical of his films. This probably has something to do with the fact that it is one of the few times he truly shared the writer credit. I love it but it is not a patch on What Have I Done...

Anonymous said...

pronounciation goes something like "boll-bear", as the spanish 'v' is pronounced 'b'.
but i guess if you're gonna ask at the cinema, no-one's gonna tell you off. anyone remember the bengaboys, for instance?!