Spain, 1997, 103 min, Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, Rated R, Spanish with English subtitles
“A vengeful, five-way battle of wits.” – Mike Clark, USA Today
“Despite his erotic fixations, Pedro Almodóvar is the cinema’s last true innocent.” – David Denby, New York Magazine
Christmas, 1970, during the Franco era. A prostitute (Penelope Cruz) gives birth to a baby boy in a dramatic opening. Fast forward to the present: the baby, Victor (Liberto Rabal), now a drug dealer, has arrived at the apartment of Elena (Francesca Neri) looking for a night of romance. Elena, however, is more interested in drugs than in Victor, and they get into a heated argument that leads to a gunshot. Two cops (Javier Bardem and Pepe Sancho) arrive on the scene and the four become entangled in a story filled with erotic passion and dark thrills.
There’s no greater joy for a film programmer than to come across a totally original filmmaker, in complete command of his domain, whose work resembles no one else’s. Such was my elation at discovering the films of Pedro Almodóvar and programming them - for the first time in the U.S. - starting in 1984, year one of the Miami Film Festival. Today, he’s not only the most celebrated Spanish filmmaker, but one of the world’s greatest directors, period. Our series surveys ten classics made over the course of 25 years, and feature not only his famous ensemble, fondly referred to as chicos y chicas Almodóvar, but also actors like Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem who went on to international stardom.
CGAC Director of Programming Nat Chediak was founder/director of the Miami Film Festival (1984-2001).
Program notes adapted from MoMA’s Almodóvar retrospective.