Steve McQueen on Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Pain and Glory’ – Variety


December 18, 2019 8:35AM PT

Read more from Variety’s Directors on Directors, in which filmmakers praise their favorite movies of the year, here

When I first watched “Pain and Glory” it called to mind the work of Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman, who, like Pedro Almodovar, continuously displayed their ability to fuse their own lives and art, taking elements from their personal experiences and creating a world with rich and complicated characters. Nowhere has Almodovar’s talent as a director been put to such excellent use as in “Pain and Glory.” Clearly his most personal and best film to date, it is a contemplative triumph, rich and elegant yet intimate and subtle.

The story is an exploration of the pain and glory of an artist’s life through Antonio Banderas’ Salvador Mallo, a celebrated filmmaker whose present circumstances force him to confront his early life as well as his relationships, personal and professional. We experience what it is to dedicate yourself to your art and the sacrifices and exploration into your inner-self it takes to create revealing, interesting and original work.

The film flows effortlessly from present to past, through love and loss. The shifting of time goes hand in hand with the growing maladies of Mallo along with Almodovar’s masterful use of colors and powerful aesthetic choices. But it’s the melancholic remembrance of past loves, desires and torment that ultimately delivers a vivifying hopefulness without a hint of sentimentality.

With a sublime and committed performance from Antonio Banderas as Mallo, only heightened by the familiarity of his fellow actors’ own longtime relationship with the director, the entire cast deliver memorable performances that are complemented by an emotional and baring score by Alberto Iglesias.

Steve McQueen won the best picture Oscar for “12 Years a Slave,” which he directed. His other films include “Shame,” “Hunger” and “Widows.”

  • Star Trek - Insurrection - 1998

    As the new year begins, Amazon Prime Video is keeping with the tradition of “out with the old and in with the new.” The streaming service will ring in the new decade with a few original series premieres, including “James May: Our Man in Japan,” “Just Add Magic: Mystery

    City,” “All or Nothing: CBF” and […]

  • Gal Gadot

    Gal Gadot is partnering with Keshet International on a film adaptation of a novel banned from school reading lists by the Israeli government because of its depiction of an Israeli-Palestinian romance. The “Wonder Woman” star and her husband, Jaron Varsano, will be co-producing the film with Keshet Studios through Pilot Wave, the production company the […]

  • Antonio Banderas Pedro Almodovar Portrait

    In the first 72 years of the Academy Awards (1927-99), 14 fact-based movies won the best-picture prize, or 19%. In the 21st century, fact-based films have won 33% of the time. Last year, three of 2018’s four acting winners (Rami Malik, Olivia Colman, Mahershala Ali) were playing real-life characters. And six of the eight best-picture […]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Hulu is kicking off the new year with a mix of new and old movies and TV shows that will be added to the streaming service in January. Reality series including “The Bachelor,” “Project Runway” will release this month, along with “Cooks vs. Cons” and “Cutthroat: Kitchen.” On the film front, “13 Going on 30,” […]

  • Pinocchio

    Enough time has passed since Roberto Benigni’s ill-starred “Pinocchio” for the actor to move more happily into the role of Geppetto in Matteo Garrone’s visually rich though oddly subdued version of the perennial tale. Given the director’s penchant for multi-strand narratives (“Tale of Tales,” “Gomorrah”), the classic story would seem a good fit, offering potential […]

  • The Wandering Earth

    It wasn’t just “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” — with its dismal $12 million opening weekend — that was a Middle Kingdom misfire for Hollywood in 2019. When year-end figures for the China box office are confirmed next week, it’s likely that only two Hollywood titles will be among the 10 top-grossing titles of […]

  • The Farewell

    Awkwafina’s “The Farewell,” directed by Beijing-born Lulu Wang, is now scheduled to hit Chinese theaters Jan. 10, nearly two months after its originally announced release date and six months after its U.S. release. The movie was initially set to appear in Chinese cinemas Nov. 22 but was pulled just two days before, supposedly in the […]


Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply