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Pedro Almodóvar
Pedro Almodóvar at Premios Goya 2017 1 (cropped 3).jpg
Almodóvar in 2018
Pedro Almodóvar Caballero

(1949-09-25) 25 September 1949 (age 74)
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
Years active 1974–present
Partner(s) Fernando Iglesias (2002–present)
Pedro Almodovar Signature.svg

Pedro Almodóvar Caballero (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpeðɾo almoˈðoβaɾ kaβaˈʝeɾo]; born 25 September 1949) is a Spanish film director and screenwriter. His films are marked by melodrama, irreverent humour, bold colour, glossy décor, quotations from popular culture, and complex narratives. Desire, LGBT issues, passion, family, and identity are among Almodóvar's most prevalent subjects in his films. Acclaimed as one of the most internationally successful Spanish filmmakers, Almodóvar and his films have gained worldwide interest and developed a cult following.

Almodóvar's career developed during La Movida Madrileña, a cultural renaissance that followed the end of Francoist Spain. In 1986, he established his own film production company, El Deseo, with his younger brother Agustín Almodóvar, who has been responsible for producing all of his films since Law of Desire (1987). His breakthrough film was Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

He achieved further success often collaborating with actors Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz. He directed Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989), High Heels (1991), and Live Flesh (1997). Almodóvar's next two films, All About My Mother (1999) and Talk to Her (2002), earned him an Academy Award each for Best International Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay, respectively. He continued to garner acclaim with his later films Volver (2006), Broken Embraces (2009), The Skin I Live In (2011), I'm So Excited! (2013), Julieta (2016), Pain and Glory (2019), and Parallel Mothers (2021). He is also known for directing several short films including The Human Voice (2020), and Strange Way of Life (2023)

Almodóvar has received numerous accolades including two Academy Awards, five BAFTA Awards, two Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, nine Goya Awards. He has also received the French Legion of Honour in 1997, the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts in 1999, and the European Film Academy Achievement in World Cinema Award in 2013 and was awarded the Golden Lion in 2019. He's also received an honorary doctoral degrees from Harvard University in 2009 and from University of Oxford in 2016.

Early life

Pedro Almodóvar Caballero was born on 25 September 1949 in Calzada de Calatrava, a small rural town of the Province of Ciudad Real in Spain. He has two older sisters, Antonia and María Jesús, and one brother Agustín. His father, Antonio Almodóvar, was a winemaker, and his mother, Francisca Caballero, who died in 1999, was a letter reader and transcriber for illiterate neighbours.

When Almodóvar was eight years old, the family sent him to study at a religious boarding school in the city of Cáceres, Extremadura, in western Spain, with the hope that he might someday become a priest. His family eventually joined him in Cáceres, where his father opened a gas station and his mother opened a bodega in which she sold her own wine. Unlike Calzada, there was a cinema in Cáceres. "Cinema became my real education, much more than the one I received from the priest", he said later in an interview. Almodóvar was influenced by Luis Buñuel.

Against his parents' wishes, Almodóvar moved to Madrid in 1967 to become a filmmaker. When the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco, closed the National School of Cinema in Madrid, Almodóvar became self-taught. To support himself, Almodóvar had a number of jobs, including selling used items in the famous Madrid flea market El Rastro and as an administrative assistant with the Spanish phone company Telefónica, where he worked for 12 years. Since he worked only until three in the afternoon, he had the rest of the day to pursue his film-making.


1974–1979: Early work and short films

In the early 1970s, Almodóvar became interested in experimental cinema and theatre. He collaborated with the vanguard theatrical group Los Goliardos, in which he played his first professional roles and met actress Carmen Maura. Madrid's flourishing alternative cultural scene became the perfect scenario for Almodóvar's social talents. He was a crucial figure in La Movida Madrileña (the Madrilenian Movement), a cultural renaissance that followed the death of Francisco Franco. Alongside Fabio McNamara, Almodóvar sang in a glam rock parody duo.

Almodóvar also penned various articles for major newspapers and magazines, such as El País, Diario 16 and La Luna as well as contributing to comic strips, articles and stories in counterculture magazines, such as Star, El Víbora and Vibraciones. He published a novella, Fuego en las entrañas (Fire in the Guts) and kept writing stories that were eventually published in a compilation volume entitled El sueño de la razón (The Dream of Reason).

Almodóvar bought his first camera, a Super-8, with his first paycheck from Telefónica when he was 22 years old, and began to make hand-held short films. Around 1974, he made his first short film, and by the end of the 1970s they were shown in Madrid's night circuit and in Barcelona.

He remembers, "I showed them in bars, at parties... I could not add a soundtrack because it was very difficult. The magnetic strip was very poor, very thin. I remember that I became very famous in Madrid because, as the films had no sound, I took a cassette with music while I personally did the voices of all the characters, songs and dialogues".

1980–1987: Rise to prominence

Pedro Almodóvar 1988
Pedro Almodóvar (1988)

Almodóvar made his first feature film Pepi, Luci, Bom (1980) with a very low budget of 400,000 pesetas, shooting it in 16 mm and later blowing it up into 35 mm.

The film was noted for its lack of polished filming technique, but Almodóvar looked back fondly on the film's flaws. "When a film has only one or two [defects], it is considered an imperfect film, while when there is a profusion of technical flaws, it is called style. That's what I said joking around when I was promoting the film, but I believe that that was closer to the truth".

Pepi, Luci, Bom premiered at the 1980 San Sebastián International Film Festival and despite negative reviews from conservative critics, the film amassed a cult following in Spain. It toured the independent circuits before spending three years on the late night showing of the Alphaville Theater in Madrid.

His second feature Labyrinth of Passion (1982) focuses on pop star Sexila (Cecilia Roth), who falls in love with a gay middle-eastern prince, Riza Niro (Imanol Arias). Their unlikely destiny is to find one another and live happily ever after on a tropical island. Framed in Madrid during La Movida Madrileña, between the dissolution of Franco's authoritarian regime and the onset of AIDS consciousness, Labyrinth of Passion caught the spirit of liberation in Madrid and it became a cult film.

The film marked Almodóvar's first collaboration with cinematographer Ángel Luis Fernandez as well as the first of several collaborations with actor Antonio Banderas. Labyrinth of Passion premiered at the 1982 San Sebastian Film Festival and while the film received better reviews than its predecessor, Almodóvar later acknowledged: "I like the film even if it could have been better made. The main problem is that the story of the two leads is much less interesting than the stories of all the secondary characters. But precisely because there are so many secondary characters, there's a lot in the film I like".

Almodóvar at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival

For his next film Dark Habits (1983), Almodóvar was approached by multi-millionaire Hervé Hachuel who wanted to start a production company to make films starring his girlfriend, Cristina Sánchez Pascual. Hachuel set up Tesuaro Production and asked Almodóvar to keep Pascual in mind. Almodóvar had already written the script for Dark Habits and was hesitant to cast Pascual in the leading role due to her limited acting experience. When she was cast, he felt it necessary to make changes to the script so his supporting cast were more prominent in the story.

The film heralded a change in tone to somber melodrama with comic elements. Pascual stars as Yolanda, a cabaret singer who seeks refuge in a convent of eccentric nuns. This film has an almost all-female cast including Carmen Maura, Julieta Serrano, Marisa Paredes and Chus Lampreave, actresses who Almodóvar would cast again in later films. This is Almodóvar's first film in which he used popular music to express emotion: in a pivotal scene, the mother superior and her protégé sing along with Lucho Gatica's bolero "Encadenados".

Dark Habits premiered at the Venice Film Festival. It went on to become a modest critical and commercial success.

Carmen Maura stars in What Have I Done to Deserve This?, Almodóvar's fourth film, as Gloria, an unhappy housewife who lives with her ungrateful husband Antonio (Ángel de Andrés López), her mother-in-law (Chus Lampreave), and her two teenage sons.

Almodóvar has described his fourth film as a homage to Italian neorealism. The film, set in the tower blocks around Madrid in post-Franco Spain, depicts female frustration and family breakdown, echoing Jean-Luc Godard's Two or Three Things I Know About Her and strong story plots from Roald Dahl's Lamb to the slaughter and Truman Capote's A Day's work, but with Almodóvar's unique approach to film making.

Almodóvar's growing success caught the attention of emerging Spanish film producer Andrés Vicente Gómez, who wanted to join forces to make his next film Matador (1986). The film centres on the relationship between a former bullfighter and a female lawyer.

Written together with Spanish novelist Jesús Ferrero, Matador drew away from the naturalism and humour of the director's previous work into a deeper and darker terrain. Almodóvar cast several of his regulars actors in key roles: Antonio Banderas, Julieta Serrano; Carmen Maura, Chus Lampreave, Verónica Forqué and Eusebio Poncela also appear in minor roles. Newcomers Nacho Martínez and Assumpta Serna, who would later work with Almodóvar again, had minor roles in the film. Matador also marked the first time Almodóvar included a notable cinematic reference, using King Vidor's Duel in the Sun in one scene.

The film premiered in 1986. Almodóvar noted, "Matador is like a legend. I don't try to be realistic; it's very abstract, so you don't feel identification with the things that are happening, but with the sensibility of this kind of romanticism."

Following the success of Matador, Almodóvar solidified his creative independence by starting his own production company, El Deseo, together with his brother Agustín Almodóvar in 1986. El Deseo's first major release was Law of Desire (1987), a film about a complicated love triangle.

Law of Desire made its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1987, where it won the festival's first ever Teddy Award, which recognises achievement in LGBT cinema. The film was a hit in art-house theatres and received much praise from critics.

1988–2002: Stardom and critical acclaim

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

Almodóvar's first major critical and commercial success internationally came with the release of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988).The film debuted at the 45th Venice film festival. This feminist light comedy of rapid-fire dialogue and fast-paced action further established Almodóvar as a "women's director" in the same vein as George Cukor and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Almodóvar has said that women make better characters: "women are more spectacular as dramatic subjects, they have a greater range of registers, etc."

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown centres on Pepa (Carmen Maura), a woman who has been abruptly abandoned by her married boyfriend Iván (Fernando Guillén). Over two days, Pepa frantically tries to track him down. In the course, she discovers some of his secrets and realises her true feelings. Almodóvar included many of his usual actors, including Antonio Banderas, Chus Lampreave, Rossy de Palma, Kiti Mánver and Julieta Serrano as well as newcomer María Barranco.

The film was released in Spain in March 1988, and became a hit in the US, making over $7 million when it was released later that same year, bringing Almodóvar to the attention of American audiences. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown won five Goya Awards, Spain's top film honours, for Best Film, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing (José Salcedo), Best Actress (Maura), and Best Supporting Actress (Barranco). The film won an award for best screenplay at the Venice film festival and two awards at the European Film Awards as well as being nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the BAFTAs and Golden Globes. It also gave Almodóvar his first Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Almodóvar's next film, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990), made its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival to a polarized critical reaction.

Pedro Almodovar Victoria Abril Césars
Almodóvar with Victoria Abril, star of High Heels, at the 1993 César Awards in Paris

High Heels (1991) is built around the fractured relationship between a famous singer, Becky del Páramo (Marisa Paredes), and her news reporter daughter, Rebeca (Victoria Abril), who struggles with constantly being in her mother's shadow.

The film was partly inspired by old Hollywood mother-daughter melodramas like Stella Dallas, Mildred Pierce, Imitation of Life and particularly Autumn Sonata, which is quoted directly in the film. Production took place in 1990; Almodóvar enlisted Alfredo Mayo to shoot the film as Jose Luis Alcaine was unavailable. Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto created a score that infused popular songs and boleros.

While High Heels was a box office success in Spain, the film received poor reviews from Spanish film critics due to its melodramatic approach and unsuspecting tonal shifts. The film got a better critical reception in Italy and France and won France's César Award for Best Foreign Film. In the US, Miramax's lack of promotional effort was blamed for the film's underperformance in the country. It was however nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.

Almodóvar's next film Kika (1993) centres on the good-hearted, but clueless, makeup artist named Kika (Verónica Forqué) who gets herself tangled in the lives of an American writer (Peter Coyote) and his stepson (Àlex Casanovas). A fashion conscious TV reporter (Victoria Abril), who is constantly in search of sensational stories, follows Kika's misadventures. Almodóvar used Kika as a critique of mass media, particularly its sensationalism. Almodóvar would later refer to the film as one of his weakest works.

In The Flower of My Secret (1995), the story focuses on Leo Macías (Marisa Paredes), a successful romance writer who has to confront both a professional and personal crisis. Estranged from her husband, a military officer who has volunteered for an international peacekeeping role in Bosnia and Herzegovina to avoid her, Leo fights to hold on to a past that has already eluded her, not realising she has already set her future path by her own creativity and by supporting the creative efforts of others.

This was the first time that Almodóvar utilized composer Alberto Iglesias and cinematographer Affonso Beato, who became key figures in some future films. The Flower of My Secret is the transitional film between his earlier and later style.

The film premiered in Spain in 1995 where, despite receiving 7 Goya Award nominations, was not initially well received by critics.

Live Flesh (1997) was the first film by Almodóvar that had an adapted screenplay. Based on Ruth Rendell's novel Live Flesh, the film follows a man who is sent to prison after attacking a police officer and seeks redemption years later when he is released. Almodóvar decided to move the book's original setting of the UK to Spain, setting the action between the years 1970, when Franco declared a state of emergency, to 1996, when Spain had completely shaken off the restrictions of the Franco regime.

Live Flesh marked Almodóvar's first collaboration with Penélope Cruz. Additionally, Almodóvar cast Javier Bardem, Liberto Rabal and Italian actress Francesca Neri.

Live Flesh premiered at the New York Film Festival in 1997. The film did modestly well at the international box office and also earned Almodóvar his second BAFTA nomination for Best Film Not in the English Language.

Almodóvar's next film, All About My Mother (1999), revisited Almodóvar's familiar themes of the power of sisterhood and of family. Almodóvar shot parts of the film in Barcelona and used lush colors to emphasise the richness of the city. Dedicated to Bette Davis, Romy Schneider and Gena Rowlands, All About My Mother is steeped in theatricality, from its backstage setting to its plot, modeled on the works of Federico García Lorca and Tennessee Williams, to the characters' preoccupation with modes of performance.

All About My Mother opened at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, where Almodóvar won both the Best Director and the Ecumenical Jury prizes. The film garnered a strong critical reception and grossed over $67 million worldwide. All About My Mother has accordingly received more awards and honours than any other film in the Spanish motion picture industry, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the Golden Globe in the same category, the BAFTA Awards for Best Direction and Best Film Not in the English Language as well as 6 Goyas in his native Spain.

After the success of All About My Mother, Almodóvar took a break from filmmaking to focus on his production company El Deseo. During this break, Almodóvar had an idea for Talk to Her (2002), a film about two men, played by Javier Cámara and Darío Grandinetti, who become friends while taking care of the comatose women they love, played by Leonor Watling and Rosario Flores. Combining elements of modern dance and silent filmmaking with a narrative that embraces coincidence and fate, in the film, Almodóvar plots the lives of his characters, thrown together by unimaginably bad luck, towards an unexpected conclusion.

Talk to Her was released in April 2002 in Spain, followed by its international premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in September of that year. It was hailed by critics and embraced by arthouse audiences, particularly in America. The unanimous praise for Talk to Her resulted in Almodóvar winning his second Academy Award, this time for Best Original Screenplay, as well as being nominated in the Best Director category. The film also won the César Award for Best Film from the European Union and both the BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Talk to Her made over $51 million worldwide.

Pedro Almodóvar and Tim Burton 01
Almodóvar (left) and Tim Burton (right) at the première of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Madrid, in 2007

2004–2016: Established director

Two years later, Almodóvar followed with Bad Education (2004), starring Gael García Bernal and Fele Martínez. In the drama film, two children, Ignácio and Enrique, discover love, cinema, and fear in a religious school at the start of the 1960s.

Almodóvar used elements of film noir, borrowing in particular from Double Indemnity. The film's protagonist, Juan (Gael Garcia Bernal), was modeled largely on Patricia Highsmith's most famous character, Tom Ripley, as played by Alain Delon in René Clément's Purple Noon. Almodóvar claimed he worked on the film's screenplay for over ten years before starting the film.

Bad Education premiered in March 2004 in Spain before opening in the 57th Cannes Film Festival, the first Spanish film to do so, two months later. The film grossed more than $40 million worldwide, despite its NC-17 rating in the US. It won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Limited Release and was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language; it also received 7 European Film Award nominations and 4 Goya nominations.

Volver (2006), a mixture of comedy, family drama and ghost story, is set in part in La Mancha (the director's native region) and follows the story of three generations of women in the same family who survive wind, fire, and even death. The film is an ode to female resilience, where men are literally disposable. Volver stars Penélope Cruz, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo and Chus Lampreave in addition to reunited the director with Carmen Maura, who had appeared in several of his early films.

The film was very personal to Almodóvar as he used elements of his own childhood to shape parts of the story. Many of the characters in the film were variations of people he knew from his small town. Using a colorful backdrop, the film tackled many complex themes such as grief, secrets and death. The storyline of Volver appears as both a novel and movie script in Almodóvar's earlier film The Flower of My Secret. Many of Almodóvar's stylistic hallmarks are present: the stand-alone song (a rendition of the Argentinian tango song "Volver"), references to reality TV, and an homage to classic film (in this case Luchino Visconti's Bellissima).

Volver received a rapturous reception when it played at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, where Almodóvar won the Best Screenplay prize while the entire female ensemble won the Best Actress prize. Penélope Cruz also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, making her the first Spanish woman ever to be nominated in that category. Volver went on to earn several critical accolades and earned more than £85 million internationally, becoming Almodóvar's highest-grossing film worldwide.

Rossy de Palma - Pedro Almodovar and Penélope Cruz - Cannes 2009
Almodóvar with Rossy de Palma (left) and Penélope Cruz at the premiere of Broken Embraces at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival

Almodóvar's next film, Broken Embraces (2009) a romantic thriller which centres on a blind novelist, Harry Caine (Lluís Homar), who uses his works to recount both his former life as a filmmaker, and the tragedy that took his sight. A key figure in Caine's past is Lena (Penélope Cruz), an aspiring actress who gets embroiled in a love triangle with Caine and a paranoid millionaire, Ernesto (José Luis Gómez). The film has a complex structure, mixing past and present and film within a film. Almodóvar previously used this type of structure in Talk to Her and Bad Education.

Jose Luis Alcaine was unable to take part in the production, so Almodóvar hired Mexican cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto to shoot the film. Distinctive shading and shadows help to differentiate the various time periods within Broken Embraces, as Almodóvar's narrative jumps between the early 1990s and the late 2000s. Broken Embraces was accepted into the main selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in competition for the Palme d'Or, his third film to do so and fourth to screen at the festival. The film earned £30 million worldwide, and received critical acclaim among critics with Roger Ebert giving the film his highest rating, 4 stars.

Despite the film failing to receive an Academy Award nomination, the film was nominated for both the British Academy Film Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Loosely based on the French novel Tarantula by Thierry Jonquet, The Skin I Live In (2011) is the director's first incursion into the psychological horror genre Inspired to make his own horror film, The Skin I Live In. The film marked a long-awaited reunion between Almodóvar and Antonio Banderas, reunited after 21 years.

After making its premiere at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, the film grossed $30 million worldwide. The Skin I Live In received the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language and a Golden Globe Award nomination in the same category.

After a long period of dramatic and serious feature films, Almodóvar's next film was a comedy. I'm So Excited (2013) is set almost entirely on an aircraft in flight, whose first-class passengers, pilots, and trio of gay stewards all try to deal with the fact that landing gears are malfunctioning. During the ordeal, they talk about love, themselves, and a plethora of things. With its English title taken from a song by the Pointer Sisters, Almodóvar openly embraced the campy humor that was prominent in his early works.

The film's cast was a mixture of Almodóvar regulars such as Cecilia Roth, Javier Cámara, and Lola Dueñas, Blanca Suárez and Paz Vega as well as Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz who make cameo appearances in the film's opening scene. The film premiered in Spain in March 2013 and had its international release during the summer of that year. Despite mixed reviews from critics, the film did fairly well at the international box office.

For his 20th feature film, Almodóvar decided to return to drama and his "cinema of women". Julieta (2016) stars Emma Suárez and Adriana Ugarte, who play the older and younger versions of the film's titular character, as well as regular Rossy de Palma, who has a supporting role in the film. This film was originally titled "Silencio" (Silence) but the director changed the name to prevent confusion with another recent release by that name.

The film was released in April 2016 in Spain to positive reviews and received its international debut at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. It was Almodóvar's fifth film to compete for the Palme d'Or. The film was also selected by the Spanish Academy as the entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, but it did not make the shortlist.


Pain and Glory (2019)

Premios Goya 2020 - Equipo Dolor y gloria
Almodóvar with Cruz, and Antonio Banderas at the Goya Awards in 2020

Almodóvar's next film—Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria)—was released in Spain on 22 March 2019 by Sony Pictures Releasing. It first was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The film centers around an aging film director, played by Antonio Banderas who is suffering from chronic illness and writer's block as he reflects on his life in flashbacks to his childhood. Penelope Cruz plays Jacinta, the mother of the aging film director, in the film's flashbacks. The film has been described as semi-autobiographical, according to Almodóvar. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, though it ultimately lost to Bong Joon-ho's Parasite.

In July 2020, Agustín Almodóvar announced that his brother had finished the script for his next full-length feature Parallel Mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Starring Penelope Cruz, the drama turns on two mothers who give birth the same day and follows their parallel lives over their first and second years raising their children. The film began shooting in February 2021 and opened the 78th Venice International Film Festival where Cruz won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress. The film has received near universal acclaim. It has been nominated for the Golden Globe Award and Independent Spirit Award for Best International Film.

The shoot delayed Almodóvar's previously announced feature-length adaptation of Lucia Berlin's short story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women starring Cate Blanchett which is set to be his first feature in English. During the Covid-19 pandemic Almodóvar directed the short film The Human Voice (2020) starring Tilda Swinton. The short which was based off the Jean Cocteau play of the same name premiered at the 77th Venice International Film Festival. He directed another short film Strange Way of Life (2023) a Western drama starring Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal. The film premiered at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival to positive reviews and will be released in theatres by Sony Pictures Classics.

Frequent collaborators

Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz at Premios Goya 2017 1 (cropped)
Almodóvar with Penélope Cruz in 2017

Almodóvar often casts certain actors in many of his films. Actors who have performed in his films 3 or more times in either lead, supporting or cameo roles include Chus Lampreave (8), Antonio Banderas (8), Rossy de Palma (8), Carmen Maura (7), Cecilia Roth (7), Penélope Cruz (7), Julieta Serrano (6), Kiti Manver (5), Fabio McNamara (5), Marisa Paredes (5), Eva Silva (5), Victoria Abril (4), Lola Dueñas (4), Lupe Barrado (4), Bibiana Fernández (Bibi Andersen) (4), Loles León (3) and Javier Cámara (3). Almodóvar is particularly noted for his work with Spanish actresses and they have become affectionately known as "Almodóvar girls" (chicas Almodóvar).

After setting up El Deseo in 1986, Agustín Almodóvar, Pedro's brother, has produced all of his films since Law of Desire (1986). Esther García has also been involved in the production of Almodóvar films since 1986. Both of them regularly appear in cameo roles in their films. His mother, Francisca Caballero, made cameos in four films before she died.

Film editor José Salcedo was responsible for editing all of Almodóvar's films from 1980 until his death in 2017. Cinematographer José Luis Alcaine has collaborated on a total of six films with Almodóvar, particularly his most recent films. Their earliest collaboration was on Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), and their most recent on The Human Voice (2020). Angel Luis Fernández was responsible for cinematography in five of Almodóvar's earlier films in the 1980s, from Labyrinth of Passion (1982) until Law of Desire (1987). In the 1990s, Almodóvar collaborated with Alfredo Mayo on two films and Affonso Beato on three films.

Composer Bernardo Bonezzi wrote the music for six of his earlier films from Labyrinth of Passion (1982) until Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988). His musical style is intertextually imbued with the compositional language of various classical and film composers such as Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, Bernard Hermann and Nino Rota. Since The Flower of My Secret (1995), Alberto Iglesias has composed the music for all of Almodóvar's films.

Art design on Almodóvar's films has invariably been the responsibility of Antxón Gomez in recent years, though other collaborators include Román Arango, Javier Fernández and Pin Morales. Almodóvar's frequent collaborators for costume design include José María de Cossío, Sonia Grande and Paco Delgado. Almodóvar has also worked with designers Jean Paul Gaultier and Gianni Versace on a few films.

1980 1982 1983 1984 1986 1987 1988 1990 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2002 2004 2006 2009 2011 2013 2016 2019 2021
Pepi, Luci, Bom
Labyrinth of Passion
Dark Habits
What Have I Done to Deserve This?
Law of Desire
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
High Heels
The Flower of My Secret
Live Flesh
All About My Mother
Talk to Her
Bad Education
Broken Embraces
The Skin I Live In
I'm So Excited!
Pain and Glory
Parallel Mothers
Victoria Abril Yes Yes Yes
Elena Anaya Yes Yes
Antonio Banderas Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lupe Barrado Yes Yes Yes Yes
Javier Cámara Yes Yes Yes
Penélope Cruz Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Lola Dueñas Yes Yes Yes
Bibiana Fernández Yes Yes Yes Yes
Chus Lampreave Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Loles León Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fabio McNamara Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kiti Manver Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Carmen Maura Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rossy de Palma Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Marisa Paredes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cecilia Roth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Julieta Serrano Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Eva Siva Yes Yes Yes Yes
Paz Vega Yes Yes

Personal life

Almodóvar is openly gay. He has been with his partner, the actor and photographer Fernando Iglesias, since 2002, and often casts him in small roles in his films. The pair live in separate dwellings in neighbouring districts of Madrid; Almodóvar in Argüelles and Iglesias in Malasaña. Almodóvar used to live on Calle de O'Donnell on the eastern side of the city but moved to his €3 million apartment on Paseo del Pintor Rosales in the west in 2007.

Almodóvar endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the run-up for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.


Short film (selected)

Year Title Director Writer Notes
1974 Film político Yes Yes
1975 Homenaje Yes Yes
El sueño, o la estrella Yes Yes
Blancor Yes Yes
1976 Sea caritativo Yes Yes
Muerte en la carretera Yes Yes
1978 Salomé Yes Yes
1996 Pastas Ardilla Yes Yes TV advert
2020 The Human Voice Yes Yes
2023 Strange Way of Life Yes Yes

Feature film

Year English title Director Writer Producer Original title
1980 Pepi, Luci, Bom Yes Yes No Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón
1982 Labyrinth of Passion Yes Yes Yes Laberinto de pasiones
1983 Dark Habits Yes Yes No Entre tinieblas
1984 What Have I Done to Deserve This? Yes Yes No ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?
1986 Matador Yes Yes No Matador
1987 Law of Desire Yes Yes No La ley del deseo
1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Yes Yes Yes Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios
1989 Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! Yes Yes No ¡Átame!
1991 High Heels Yes Yes No Tacones lejanos
1993 Kika Yes Yes No Kika
1995 The Flower of My Secret Yes Yes No La flor de mi secreto
1997 Live Flesh Yes Yes No Carne trémula
1999 All About My Mother Yes Yes No Todo sobre mi madre
2002 Talk to Her Yes Yes No Hable con ella
2004 Bad Education Yes Yes Yes La mala educación
2006 Volver Yes Yes No Volver
2009 Broken Embraces Yes Yes No Los abrazos rotos
2011 The Skin I Live In Yes Yes No La piel que habito
2013 I'm So Excited! Yes Yes No Los amantes pasajeros
2016 Julieta Yes Yes No Julieta
2019 Pain and Glory Yes Yes No Dolor y gloria
2021 Parallel Mothers Yes Yes No Madres paralelas

Awards and nominations

Awards and nominations received by Almodóvar's films
Year Title Academy Awards BAFTA Awards Golden Globe Awards Goya Awards
Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins Nominations Wins
1986 Matador 1
1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown 1 1 1 16 5
1991 High Heels 1 5
1997 Live Flesh 1 3 1
1999 All About My Mother 1 1 3 2 1 1 14 7
2002 Talk to Her 2 1 2 2 1 7 1
2004 Bad Education 1 4
2006 Volver 1 2 2 14 5
2009 Broken Embraces 1 1 5 1
2011 The Skin I Live In 1 1 1 16 4
2013 I'm So Excited! 1
2016 Julieta 1 7 1
2019 Pain and Glory 2 1 2 16 7
2021 Parallel Mothers 2 1 2 8
Total 9 2 14 5 12 1 117 32

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Pedro Almodóvar para niños

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