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This week's feature

The life and work of Pedro Almodóvar

If you search ‘Pedro’ on Google, you’ll immediately find stuff about the Spanish soccer player who plays for Chelsea. Although they have the same nationality, it is not the Pedro that we’re looking for. To us, Pedro is Almodóvar. With films that are both iconic and outlandish, actresses who become international superstars, classic scenes with insane dialogues, awards from the most prestigious academies and organizations, and a unique silhouette, he is the incarnation of Spanish pop culture.
This year, he became the 70th President of the Jury of the Cannes Film Festival after being a member 25 years ago.

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While our group is the official partner of the fabulous cinema event, Orange Pop wanted to celebrate the talent of the master of the Madrilenian Scene with the Mag 99, entirely dedicated to the life and the work of Pedro Almodóvar :

  1. Pedro Almodovar’s Fun Fact
  2. His main character, the city of Madrid
  3. The movies that have influenced Almodovar
  4. 3 questions to Jean-Max Méjean, the Almodóvar specialist
  5. Why Almodòvar isn’t a fan of Hollywood?
  6. Agustín Almodóvar, brother and producer
  7. All Almodòvar, all classics
  8. Is Penelope Cruz Almodòvar’s #1 fan?
  9. Almodovar’s opening and ending credits are legendary in their own rights
  10. Queer Palm’s tribute to Pedro Almodòvar
  11. Almodòvar x Vogue: Pedro about Meryl Streep and his upcoming TV series
  12. Why was Almodòvar chosen as the president of the jury?

So hold on tight as we zoom once again into pop culture!

And as the Spanish director once said :

To be a movie director in Spain, is like being a bullfighter in Japan

 

Pedro Almodovar's Fun Fact

The infographic - May 03, 2017

Although he is a highly respected and world-renowned filmmaker, there is little that is known about Almodovar’s “off-cinema” life. For example, we’re sure you did not know what the number “12” means to Pedro 🙂

ORANGEPOP_CHIFFRE_SEMAINE

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The do to dot of African film festivals

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Almost every Almodovar movie was shot in Madrid

Shine at parties! - May 03, 2017

In Patty Diphusa, his novel, Almodovar writes “My life and my films are linked to this city, like the two sides of a coin,”. And that’s the least he could say. His filmography is essentially linked to the city of Madrid. Movies. The Labyrinth Of Passion, What Have I Done to Deserve This ?, Law of Desire, Broken Embraces and All About My Mother were all shot there.

All the Madrid-lovers among his spectators will be able to recognize places such as Café Wooster (The Labyrinth Of Passion), Arenal street (Live Flesh), Atocha train station (Kika), the Cuartel Del Conde-Duque (Law Of Desire), that are characters in their own right.
… makes you wonder what the filmography of Pedro Almodóvar would have looked like had he decided to go live in Dublin, London or even Lagos!

pedro-almodovar-ville-madrid-filmographie

A very colorful Madrid in Women In The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown © El Deseo

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Top 5 movies that have influenced Almodovar

Gimme 5 - May 03, 2017

Although they inspire the world with their talent, our favorite directors also have their favorite directors. Pedro Almodóvar does not deviate from the rule and his cinematographic universe consists of multiple references to his predecessors. Here are 5 works without which the cinema of Pedro would not be what it is today.

1 – The Young Girls Of Rochefort by Jacques Demy: There’s a lot of Demy in Almodovar’s work, especially when it comes to color treatment.
He even alluded to that himself when talking to Sofilm magazine : « If there’s a movie I wish I did, it’s ‘The Young Girls Of Rochefort’ »

2 – Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock: Pedro Almodóvar has never shied away from his absolute admiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s cinema that he describes as one of the richest ever and that he uses as a reference for his own work.

3 – The Soft Skin by François Truffaut: Although it is one of the least known movie by the leader of French New Wave, it has become one of Pedro Almodòvar’s bedside film. Funnily enough, it stars Françoise Dorléac, who’s also in The Young Girls of Rochefort.

4 – The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz by Luis Buñuel : Though Spain isn’t particularly known for having a big movie scene, it has birthed one of cinema’s biggest director : Luis Buñuel. It is not surprising that Almodòvar has been inspired by The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz.

5 – Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino : Pedro Almodóvar has always been a fan of Tarantino’s early work. He has clearly influenced him when it comes to the usage of music in his movies.
Later in the mag, we talk about the amazing music of Pedro’s movies.

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3 questions to Jean-Max Méjean, the Almodóvar specialist: “he used to say that he was Andy Warhol with a dark wig”

The 3 questions - May 03, 2017

Pedro Almodóvar is considered a one of a kind director with an incomparable talent, and although many forget it (or just don’t know about it), it’s within the cultural movement of movida that the filmmaker has carved out such a unique identity. Jean-Max Méjean, Almodòvar French specialist, tells us everything about the movement.

Orange Pop: Pedro Almodóvar is described as a child of the movida. But what exactly is the movida?

Jean-Max Méjean: La movida is a cultural movement that emerged suddenly after the death of Franco in the mid 70s. From the very beginning, this movement was a drastic departure from Franco’s Spain, which was very Catholic and full of restrictions. Madrid’s movie store didn’t have the movies Pedro was interested in. So he had to go to France to watch them. That was the time when Salvado Dalì said that Perpignan was the center of the world because a lot of Spanish people were crossing the borders to watch more subversive movies in France. Movida has had a huge impact on Almodòvar’s early work like The Labyrinth Of Passion or What Have I Done to Deserve This?. It was. It was like a revolt of some sort, a little punk, anticlerical and fascinated with the transgender identity, which is a recurring theme in the filmography of Almodóvar.

O. Pop: What role did Almodóvar play within the movida?

J.M.M: At first, he was linked to the movement through music. Let’s not forget that he started out as a musician with his band Almodòvar & McNamara. That’s why he can be compared to Emir Kusturica who’s also a musician and a director. In The Labyrinth Of Passion that was released in 1983 – which marks the very beginning of the movida – he interprets a song that is rather symptomatic of its time. The lyrics go “Voy a ser mama” which means “I will be a mother”. He says that he wants to have kids. That too is a recurring theme of his filmography

O. Pop: In time, has his role evolved in any capacity?

J.M.M: Soon enough he became the self-proclaimed pope of the movida. People compared this movement to New York’s underground scene – for better or for worse – so Almodòvar jokingly used to say that he was Andy Warhol with a dark wig. Rumor has it one day, at a party in Madrid, Almodòvar met Warhol who said to him : « Im happy to meet my brunette doppelganger ». I would have loved to be there on that night

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Why Almodòvar isn’t a fan of Hollywood

The killer question - May 03, 2017

Because he is a lover of Madrid, Pedro Almodóvar has always had some reluctance to leave Spain to make it in the United States. Especially since he met one of his idols, American filmmaker Billy Wilder, who advised him never to move to Hollywood where his cinema would have to go through some changes to be released. Ever since, Pedro Almodóvar has been overtly criticizing Hollywood for its “diabolical” sexism. He pointed out in Variety magazine: “Hollywood does not create good enough roles about mothers, girlfriends, daughters and sisters-in-law.”
When you think about it, it is hard to imagine the female characters of his films in the strict and codified framework of Hollywood…

pedro-almodovar-hollywood-relation-cinema-espagnol

Once in a while, he’ll strike a pose with Hollywood’s best screenwriters ©TheHollywoodReporter

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Agustín Almodóvar, brother and producer

Who's who - May 03, 2017

If Pedro Almodóvar has enjoyed true artistic freedom throughout his career, it has a lot to do with his little brother: Agustín.

In 1986, they founded the production company El Deseo. From then on, all of Almodóvar’s movies were produced independently, as well as a few French co-productions. It is also thanks to this company created with his brother that the filmmaker was able to work in Spain (rather than Hollywood for example) and build a filmography that is oh-so-Spanish, from the language, music and aesthetic choices.

That’s what bros are for!

pedro-almodovar-frere-augustin-almodovar-producteur

Agustín, the other Almodóvar © Ruben Ortega

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All Almodòvar, all classics!

Music - May 03, 2017

The only thing as renowned as Pedro Almodóvar’s movies is the music in Pedro Almodovar’s movies.

Indeed, it is impossible not to think about the soundtracks which set the tone in the director’s films. Penelope Cruz ‘singing’ « Volver », Caetano Veloso making « Cucurrucucu Paloma » his own during Talk To Her and more recently Buika’s « Por El Amor De Amar » in The Skin I Live In, every movie has its iconic song (or songs).

Here’s a selection of our favorite ones :

 

Caetano Veloso – Cucurrucucu Paloma (Talk To Her)
Luz Casal – Piensa En Mi (High Heels)
Buika – Por El Amor De Amar (The Skin I Live In)
Estrella Morente – Volver (Volver)
Trentemoller – Shades Of Marble (The Skin I Live In)
Pedro José Sanchez Martinez – Moon River (Bad Education)
Luz Casal – Un Ano de Amor (High Heels)
Ismael Lô – Tajabone (All About My Mother)
Maysa – Ne Me Quitte Pas (Law Of Desire)
Sara Montiel – Quizas, Quizas, Quizas (Bad Education)

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Is Penelope Cruz Almodòvar's #1 fan?

Stories - May 03, 2017

When you know that we all became fans of Pedro Almodòvar because of his amazing films, what should we say about the actors who have actually acted in his movies?

One thing’s for sure, Penelope Cruz that we’ve seen in Volver and Broken Embraces is most definitely Pedro’s official #1 “fan girl”, if we go by her Instagram account at least.

#goyas2017 #aboutlastnight #PedroAlmodovar

Une publication partagée par Penélope Cruz (@penelopecruzoficial) le

Frequently, she posts pictures of her alongside the director, pictures of her alongside co-star Antonio Banderas AND the director, at times she posts solo shots of Pedro like when he was announced as the President of the Cannes Film Festival’s Jury.

A few weeks ago, Penelope took part in a tribute to Almodòvar held in Madrid, which allowed her to be reunited with her mentor once again.

It’s great to see that the two Spanish talents have remained friends over the years… now we’re ready when you are for another movie, guys :-p

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Almodovar's opening and ending credits are legendary in their own rights

Stories - May 04, 2017

Just like with Tarantino’s movies, nothing is ever left to chance when it comes to Pedro’s films. The storytelling begins with the opening sequence.

That’s exactly what Blow Up has put forward in their latest video that retraces the story of the his many opening and closing credits. From the pin-up vibe of Kika, the voyeuristic Labyrinth Of Passions opening, to the subtleties of the credits of All About My Mother, the editorial mood of Women On The Edge Of A Nervous Breakdown or the clinical mood of The Skin I Live In, it’s a great reminder of the genius in Almodòvar’s work.

It reminds us of the opening credits of the last decade’s best TV shows (like Game Of Thrones, True Blood or Dexter…), which include a lot of clues about where the series is going…
This brings out the next question: how fantastic would it be to get an Almodòvar-directed TV show?

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Queer Palm's tribute to Pedro Almodòvar

Stories - May 05, 2017

Through his films, Almodòvar has always made sure to portray the highs and the lows of the LGBT experience in the most realistic way. As a way of giving back, the Queer Palm is honoring the director with a reimagining of a classic element of his filmography.

The Queer Palm is a prize for LGBT-related film entered into the Cannes Film Festival selection. For its 2017 official poster, it has chosen to use the imagery of Pedro’s High Heels and replace its title with « Gracias Pedro » (« Merci Pedro »).

Travis Matthews will serve as the president of the jury and three movies by openly gay directors are part of the film selection.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Mr Almodòvar stopped by the ceremony to show support yet again to a community he has helped break barriers?

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Almodòvar x Vogue: Pedro about Meryl Streep and his upcoming TV series

Stories - May 08, 2017

Fashion has always played a very important part in Pedro Almodòvar’s work. This is probably why the most renowned fashion magazine Vogue has chosen to bless him with the cover of their male edition, L’UOMO Vogue.

In the accompanying interview, Mr. Pedro says that in a near future he’d love to work with Meryl Streep, who was considered for the lead role in ‘Julieta’ before the film was adapted to fit Spanish culture.
But the piece of news that got us losing our minds is that he is currently working on a science fiction-inspired TV series: “As a storyteller, and also as a viewer, I prefer the two-hour format. But one can’t deny that TV series are experiencing a golden moment”.

We might get ahead of ourselves by saying this but this TV show is already amongst our favorites EVER! Ok we’re joking… but are we, really?

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Why was Almodòvar chosen as the president of the jury?

Stories - May 09, 2017

Surely you’ve asked yourself this question: how does the Cannes Film Festival pick its president of the jury?
And as a matter of fact, why was Pedro Almodòvar chosen for the 70th edition of the festival, when he’s never received the Golden Palm?
Well well, we’ve got the answer and it comes straight from the film festival’s director, Thierry Frémaux:

“He is one of the greatest filmmaker of today, and a part of Cannes’ family”
Here’s what Frémaux had to say about Almo, he also stated that because of the way he represents women and diversity in general “Pedro Almodòvar’s presence is really something important”

The Cannes Film Festival is constantly evolving and opening up to the future, we’re happy to witness that the change that is happening is represented by Mister Pedro Almodòvar.

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See you next week!

To be continued - May 03, 2017

Next Wednesday, the silver screen is orange! 🔶

 

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