Pain or Glory? Almodovar tries again for the Palme d’Or in Cannes

For the sixth time in the running, but never crowned: Pedro Almodovar climbed the steps of Cannes on Friday with “Pain and Glory”, a very personal and moving portrait of a filmmaker in crisis, with which he will once again try to obtain the Palme d’Or.

Dressed all in black, the usual sunglasses over his eyes, the 69-year-old filmmaker, a flamboyant icon of Spanish cinema for more than 30 years, walked the red carpet looking serene and smiling. He was on the arm of his favorite actors Antonio Banderas, who plays the hero of the film, and Penelope Cruz, in a blue and white dress, who plays the mother of her child character.

“I’m very excited,” he said before walking the red carpet, preceded in particular by the president of the jury Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu and his recurring actresses Rossy de Palma and Marisa Paredes.

“Pain and Glory”, his 21st film, in theaters in France from Friday evening in the wake of its Cannes presentation, after being released in March in Spain, is preceded by a very positive critical and public reception.

Eighth collaboration between Pedro Almodovar and Antonio Banderas – who began his career in the early 80s in “The labyrinth of passions”, before shooting with the terrible child of Movida in “The law of desire” or “Attach me !” -, this introspective film tells the story of an aging, sick and reclusive director, Salvador Mallo.

Arrived at a difficult period of his life, isolated, plunged into depression and various physical sufferings, unable to continue filming, this filmmaker who has known success will revisit his past, between the 60s, the 80s and the present, thanks in particular to several reunions.

– “Need to tell this story” –

Impeccable in this role, Antonio Banderas, who knows Almodovar by heart, plays in this intimate film a double of the filmmaker, adopting his thick hair and his clothes in frank colors, but while being careful not to imitate him.

“He was the most legitimate to interpret the character, because a lot of the things I talk about, he knows them firsthand,” the filmmaker explained on Friday to a small group of journalists, including AFP. “It is not the passionate Banderas, full of brilliance and bravery so characteristic. It is quite the opposite: a tone of play with small gestures, minimalist”.

The director admits to having exposed himself emotionally in this work, in which he plays brilliantly with autofiction, and which takes place elsewhere in his apartment.

1646378804 329 Pain or Glory Almodovar tries again for the Palme dOr

“I reflect myself in this film more than in any other, but all my films represent me. It’s just that none have done so through a character who exercises the same profession as me, and with such a physical resemblance “, continued the director, who emphasizes having “needed to tell this story”.

Will this new selection for “Pain and Glory” be the right one? “I’m not obsessed with the Palme d’Or,” Almodovar said hours before he climbed the stairs.

“When I come to Cannes, I like to be in competition, which is always more exciting,” he continued. But “that does not mean that I will win, because I know the rules of the game very well. I have been on the jury twice, and I know how it works”.

Faithful to Cannes, Pedro Almodovar last came to competition in 2016 for “Julieta”, a dark portrait of a suffering mother, before presiding over the jury the following year.

Previously, the filmmaker with a colorful aesthetic, recognizable among a thousand, had already come four times: for “All About My Mother” in 1999, “Volver” in 2006, “Broken Embraces” in 2009, and “La Piel que habito” in 2011.

He has been awarded twice, with the directing prize for “All about my mother” and the screenplay prize and collective interpretation prize for his actresses for “Volver”.

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Pain or Glory? Almodovar tries again for the Palme d’Or in Cannes