THE LAW OF DESIRE
LA LEY DEL DESEO
1987, Sony Pictures Classics, 100 min, Dir: Pedro Almodóvar

Almodóvar’s dizzying, polysexual melodrama stars Carmen Maura as a boy-turned-girl with a muy complicated sex life (incest, transvestitism and so on) – until she’s kidnapped by the murderously good-looking lover (heartthrob Antonio Banderas) of her gay pornographer brother (Euse bio Poncela). Banderas’ smoldering presence – and his first man-on-man screen kiss – made him a gay icon worldwide.


PAIN AND GLORY
DOLOR Y GLORIA
2019, Sony Pictures Classics, 113 min, Spain/France, Dir: Pedro Almodóvar

There is no shortage of comparisons between Fellini’s 8 ½ and Pedro Almodóvar’s latest work, PAIN AND GLORY. Like Fellini, Almodóvar draws upon his own life to construct the story of a director in decline. As Salvador Mallo, Antonio Banderas is a man caught between past and present, reliving the experiences that have shaped him while he grapples with addiction and a state of creative stasis. Yet Almodóvar’s portrait of the artist in limbo is characterized by the particular blend of sexuality, nostalgia and familial attachment that the Spanish auteur has made his signature. A competitor for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival - where Banderas received the Best Actor Award for his performance - PAIN AND GLORY is a confessional exploration of the toll that human relationships take and of the restorative power of creation.


TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN!
ATAME!
1989, Janus Films, 102 min, Spain, Dir: Pedro Almodóvar

Paroled mental patient Antonio Banderas kidnaps former porn star-turned-junkie Victoria Abril to save her from herself, in Almodóvar’s violently sexy take on male-female relations – and his most controversial film in the U.S., where it earned a hotly contested X-rating. “In a country like Spain I don’t have to explain that TIE ME UP! is a love story, or defend myself against accusations that it could turn you into a psychopath!” – Almodóvar.


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