Pedro Almodóvar Retrospective

Film, Film festivals
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Penelope Cruz in Volver
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

Lose yourself in the celebrated Spanish filmmaker's finest films

Spain’s favourite film export, Pedro Almodóvar, brought a new cinematic language to the masses with lushly sensual, female-led movies like All About My Mother and Broken Embraces, both of which feature his most famous muse and megastar in her own right Penélope Cruz. Appealing equally to dedicated cineastes and casual movie-goers, the director's tender insights into lives less ordinary, heaving melodrama, queer sensibility and off-the-wall comedy, ensure that his back catalogue is eternally popular.

Which is why we love that Dendy Newtown is hosting a sumptuous feast of Almodóvar’s films for Sydneysiders who aren’t ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. There’s a beautiful melancholy to his 13th feature, All About My Mother, a Barcelona-set, Tennessee Williams-style saga that also channels All About Eve. The fabulous Cecilia Roth plays a grieving mother seeking out the trans woman she was once married to, to pass on the tragic news of the loss of their son. Cruz is a magnetic presence as a nun struggling with her unusual connection to the family. It’s one of his best.

Cruz also pops up alongside that other great guiding light for Almodóvar, Rossy de Palma, in Broken Embraces, with the plot also spurred on by a death. Elsewhere in the fest, Pain and Glory is Almodóvar’s most personal film yet, musing on both his childhood and encroaching old age through the prism of personal challenges and enduirng creativity, for which Antonio Banderas shoulda taken home the Oscar. Julieta is a stirring portrait of a lady’s loves and regrets, peeping into the already OTT world of TV, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is an early classic that cannot be missed, Volver tops up the Cruz factor, and Banderas and Elena Anaya flip Frankenstein on its head in underrated gem The Skin I Live In. And if you want one of Almodóvar’s wilder offerings, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! is an outrageous comedy.

Love film? Take a look at the festivals screening around town right now

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