Wednesday, August 16, 2006


'Viva Pedro' series celebrates Pedro Almodóvar

The idea of Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar asking anyone for style advice is comical, since, well, a flair for fashion surrounds him like a rainbow-colored halo. It’s been a few years, but I still have crystal clear memories of watching Almodóvar try on clothes for an upcoming party. He asked what I thought and of course, he looked fantastic with every costume change.
Almodóvar’s sense of film style, his undeniable art and bold thumbprint on world cinema is being celebrated with “Viva Pedro,” an eight-film tour from Sony Pictures Classics celebrating the director’s body of work.
The series is underway at New York’s Lincoln Plaza Cinemas with a restored print of his 1988 comic melodrama “Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown.” Upcoming are newly restored prints of “Bad Education” (2004), “Matador” (1988), “Law of Desire” (1987), “Live Flesh”(1997), “Flower of My Secret”(1996), “Talk to Her” (2002) and “All About My Mother” (1999) (pictured above with Cecilia Roth, left and Marisa Peredes).
The series opens in Los Angeles later in August and travels cross-country in the fall, playing choice cinemas from Portland, Ore. to Boston, Mass. and numerous points in-between.
Foreign-language films continue to scramble for a shot in theaters and the list of world masters unable to gain recognition in the United States keeps growing. The one exception to this dismal trend is Almodóvar, who deserves every bit of name recognition he’s built through the years.
“Viva Pedro” is arguably the film event of the fall; a bold reminder of why people continue to fall in love with movies. Better yet, it is the perfect warm up to the November release of Almodóvar’s latest drama, “Volver.”
Retrospectives on the scale of “Viva Pedro” usually honor deceased artists. It's as if their death is required for such recognition. But Almodóvar is alive, vibrant and kicking out the best films in his career. His retrospective is perfectly timed. It celebrates his glorious past and reminds his fans that the best is yet to come.

“Viva Pedro” is underway in New York City and expands throughout the United States in late August. “Volver” screens as the Centerpiece film at the 2006 New York Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival before Sony Pictures Classics opens the film in November.

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