August 11, 2019
The Spanish director reflects on his career and his deeply personal new film, Pain and Glory, a late-life masterpiece
Pedro Almodóvar: ‘I can no longer hide’
“Without film-making my life is meaningless,” says Salvador Mallo, the depressed director at the heart of Pedro Almodóvar’s new film. He’s ageing, he’s ailing and lives all by himself in a big flat full of memories. His friends have all left and he fears his best work is behind him. Time is ticking; his body is breaking down. When Mallo is wheeled into theatre for a routine operation, it could almost be a dress-rehearsal for his death.
Almodóvar points out that the film is a fiction. He has no interest in documentaries and would never dream of making one. So the character of Mallo is not him, not really, even if Antonio Banderas dressed in the director’s clothes to play the role, even if the film’s interiors were shot inside the director’s own flat, even if Mallo’s life largely corresponds with his own. But his defence is crumbling; he throws up his hands. “I’m trying to convince myself I’m talking about a character,” he says. “But deep down I know I’m talking about myself. So go ahead, ask me anything. I can no longer hide behind Salvador Mallo.”
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