Penelope Cruz and Pedro Almodovar posed together on the April cover of Vanity Fair. This magazine cover is apart of their promotional tour for Almodovar’s latest film, Broken Embraces, which was released in Spain last week.
This year in Spanish cinema, Pedro Almodovar is the new black.
Oscar-winning director Almodovar’s latest film Broken Embraces drops his distinctive comic melodrama for the best tradition of “film noir,” the dark and stylish film genre used in many crime dramas.
Set for release on March 18 in Spain and in the rest of Europe in May, the film stars recent Oscar winner Penelope Cruz in the role of a tragedy-dogged aspiring actress.
“The film noir genre is one of my favorites,” Almodovar told reporters at a screening of the film on Friday. “The fact this film was really “black” was what was very satisfying.”
Broken Embraces centers on a quartet of characters in the movie business whose lives are interwoven in a torrid tale of love, power, secrecy, betrayal and vengeance. There is the actress Lena (Cruz), script writer and director Mateo, film producer Judith and unscrupulous financier Ernesto.
The dark and stylish cinematography recalls classic Hollywood thrillers of the 1940s and 1950s, including one scene where Lena’s jealous lover pushes her down a long, winding staircase, evoking a similar scene in Henry Hathaway’s The Kiss of Death.
Almodovar described Broken Embraces — his 17th film and with the highest budget yet of 11 million euros ($14.16 million) — as “the story of my \love for the cinema.”
Spain’s most famous director is known for melodramatic tragedy mixed with frenetic comedy in films like Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!. He won the Oscar for screenwriting Talk to Her, about two men who form an unlikely bond when both their girlfriends are in comas, and he has only flirted with film noir style in earlier films, such as Trembling Flesh.
Broken Embraces marks the fourth collaboration between Almodovar and Cruz, who last month won the Oscar for best supporting actress in a role as an eccentric Spanish painter in Woody Allen’s Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona.
Cruz was effusive in her praise of Almodovar. “I’ve been obsessed with his films since I was a youngster,” she said, adding that if she were told she could only work with one director for the rest of her life it would be “without doubt” Almodovar.
I am taking a seminar on Pedro Almodovar’s films this semester so I will be beyond excited if Broken Embraces does indeed show at Cannes.
Other than being an brilliant and renowned filmmaker (All About My Mother; Talk to Her; Bad Education; Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown), Pedro Almodovar just made these comments, which makes me love him even more.
Director Pedro Almodovar has crushed speculation he plans to quit his native Spain for Hollywood.
The maverick moviemaker, responsible for films such as Volver and Bad Education, feels he is too old now to change his ways and that the Hollywood method of working would not suit him.
He says, “I’m an artist. I’m part of every decision in a movie. This is not how they work in Hollywood. There the director is part of the crew, not the main creator. I’m too old to change now. I wouldn’t know how to do it.”
The director also laments the worsening standard of Hollywood screenwriting, adding, “They forget the most important thing is the script, and the scripts get weaker and weaker. Technical effects advance, but the literary quality is worse.”
I love him! His films typically center around women and their relationships. (Plus if there is one reason why I take Penelope Cruz seriously, it’s because of his movies). Also, if there is anyone who understands and appreciates good screenwriting, it’s Pedro Almodovar. In 2003, he won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for Talk to Her, not to mention the Best Screenplay Award he picked up at this year’s Cannes Festival for his next feature, Volver.