Pedro Almodóvar may be considered a fixed asset in the Cannes Film Festival but he has only won the main prize once – in 2006 for the movie Volver. When the 1999 Cannes hit All About My Mother was taken over at the last moment by the Dardenne brother’s Rosetta, Almodóvar insisted his films play at the festival out of competition much like Woody Allen’s stance.
Although the director’s work has been solid ever since but none of his work post 2006 garnered as much talk of a pending Palme d’Or talk as this year’s entry - Pain and Glory.
The highly personal story, which stars Almodóvar’s longtime collaborator Antonio Banderas, is about a famous Spanish film director whose career has been brought to a halt by ill health. Banderas plays the lead: Salvador Mallo.
Speaking to Deadline, the Best Actor-prize winner confirmed that the movie reveals much about the director. He also elaborated on being casted as Mallo.
“There are things [in the film] that we [experienced] together during all these years—decades—and so I suppose he thought, ‘Antonio knows better than anybody what I’m talking about, and he knows me better than anybody.’ And because the character Salvador Mallo is an alter ego of him, kind of autobiographic in a way, I think he thought that way.”
But not everything goes according to the plan in Almodóvar’s drama - for instance the movie depicts Mallo becoming addicted to heroin.
“Not everything that you see on the screen—not all those events—happened,” explained Banderas, “but the movie is filled with things that he would have loved to say that he didn’t say. Things that he would have loved to do, but didn’t do. Circles that were still open, and some of them are still painful—things that he never said to his mother that he would have loved to say to her. Like, ‘Mother, I’m sorry that I’m not the son that you wanted to have.’ Things like that.”
“We all travel through life with a lot of pain and glory in our backpack,” he mused. “The movie relates to many people. And that is one of the reasons that I think the movie connects emotionally very strongly with people all around the world, even if the movie is very personal [to Pedro].”