Pain and Glory
Pedro Almodóvar reunites with Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz in his most personal film yet: a gorgeous reflection on cinema, art, family, love, and sexual awakening. Banderas, in one of his very finest performances, plays Salvador Mallo, who has a fair few things in common with Pedro Almodóvar. Suffering from a range of health issues, Salvador finds himself in a creative rut. He lacks the physical strength to make a film, and this inability to create makes him more depressed. This artistic limbo leads Salvador to reflect on his life, his loves and his films. Pain and Glory goes back in time to Salvador’s childhood, where he was raised, in poverty, in a cave modelled into a house by his doting mother (played superbly by Cruz). In the present, a reunion with an actor he has long been estranged from leads to an addiction to heroin. Amidst the pain, there are thoughts of past glories, and those hopefully to come, in a film that arrives at a resolute position of hope. As always, there is a meticulous attention to detail, and images and moments that make you swoon in the distinctive way that only a Pedro Almodóvar film can.
Official Competition director biography: Pedro Almodóvar's first film was Pepi, Luci, Bom in 1980, which began a prolific career. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was an international success and he went on to win Academy Awards for All About My Mother and Talk to Her. Volver received two awards in Cannes. His most recent films Julieta (SFF 2017) and Pain and Glory both appeared in the Cannes Competition.