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Pedro Almodóvar

Almodóvar, Pedro (pāˈħrō älmōħōˈbär) [key], 1951–, Spanish film director. Almodóvar began to make films in the mid-1970s and released his first feature, Pepi, Luci, Bon y otras chicas del montón, in 1980. In post-Franco Spain's cultural freedom, Almodóvar became popular for his blackly comic yet joyous visions of human entanglements and the wilder shores of sexuality. Such outrageously satirical sociosexual comedies as Dark Habits (1983), Matador (1986), Law of Desire (1987), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989), and Kika (1993) flouted the taboos of conventional Spanish society. Saturated with vivid color and extravagant emotion, these works typically center around strong, cunning, glamorous, and compelling women while often also featuring usually sympathetic portraits of such characters as transsexuals, drag queens, porn stars, and addicts. A change of tone entered Aldomóvar's work with The Flower of My Secret (1995). He turned away from the extremes of campy parody to concentrate on a more open and somewhat mournful emotionalism in which sorrow can be transformed, largely by the power of art, into tenderness and beauty. Among his later films are All about My Mother (1999), winner of the Cannes best director award and the Academy Award for best foreign film, two male-centered works, Talk to Her (2002) and the noir-inflected Bad Education (2004), the decidedly female-centered Volver (2006), the enigmatic, somber yet sparkling Broken Embraces (2009), and the darkly melodramatic The Skin I Live In (2011). He has written the screenplays for many of his films.

See Y. Baigneres and F. Strauss, ed., Almodóvar on Almodóvar (1995), and P. Willoquet-Maricondi, ed., Pedro Almodóvar: Interviews (2004); studies by N. B. Vidal (1988), P. J. Smith (1994), K. M. Vernon and B. Morris, ed. (1995), F. Strauss (2000), and M. Allinson (2001).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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