by Marianina Patsa
He’s been described as a “women’s director”. His obsession with the female persona unfolds in every form and dominates most of his films: mother, daughter, mistress, wife, victim, abuser, lesbian, straight, prostitute and transvestite.
Through these personalities, Pedro Almodóvar reveals a profound knowledge of the female mentality, often with a delusional mark that embodies all known human psychopathologies and perversions, bad taste, excessiveness, the total breakdown of taboos and moments of deep reflection.
He was born in the town of Calzada de Calatrava on the outskirts of La Mancha, home to Don Quixote, he was just as fascinating, creating stories that he would tell his sisters. He watched films as a child and he saw every movie that came to town, which in turn would narrate to his family in a very eminent way. The Spanish director rarely speaks about his father who died in 1980. But his ever-present mother, a decisive figure who marked his life, made the quest of the maternal bond one of his favorite subjects.
He took his first steps in the movie business in the early ’70s, showing his films in underground shops in Madrid. The films had no sound due to the poor quality and he did all the live dialogues on his own. There he met Carmen Maura, who was destined to star in such films as “Pepi, Lucy, Bom and the Other Girls”, “Matador” and “Law of Desire”, and to the success that drove him to top. In 1998, the dark comedy drama “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” made him known to the American audience and earned him an Oscar nomination and 5 Goya awards. “In recent years, studios have forgotten how exciting women are” he says with seriousness, establishing himself as “the women’s director.”