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Pedro Almodóvar: 1951—: Filmmaker Biography

Escaped Abuse Through Films, Broke Taboos With Early Films, Showed No Stop To His Creativity

As notorious as he is notable, Pedro Almodóvar, long Spain's reigning king of film, has taken center stage as one of the world's most successful and original directors. His art, borne out of a childhood of bleak villages and Catholic repression, took shape during "la movida," Spain's cultural revolution that followed the fall of General Francisco Franco, the country's fascist dictator who ruled for 36 years. Even as he progressed from short films made with a hand-held Super 8 camera to Academy Award-winning features, Almodóvar has maintained a distinctive style: surreal sets awash in ultra-bright colors; ferociously independent characters that don't push the limits of convention but barrel through them; and outrageous storylines rampant with sexuality, hedonism, humor, and kitsch. He was once quoted in Film Comment as saying, "for the individual [passion] is undeniably the only motor that gives sense to life." It is also, undeniably, the motor that drives Almodóvar. Despite the eccentricities, his films still somehow manage to be familiar enough to stir the heart of his audience. This is Almodóvar's magic.

Pedro Almodóvar Caballero was born on September 25, 1951 in Calzada de Calatrava, a small dusty village in southwestern Spain. On www.express.co.uk Almodóvar is quoted as describing his birth town as "a land so hard where there was no understanding of colour. Maybe that is why I use so many colours in my films." His father, Antonio Almodóvar, worked at a gas station. On the side he made wine which he sold to supplement the family's meager income. His mother, Francisca Caballero, was a homemaker who ruled her house with an iron fist. Almodóvar suffered the possessiveness of his mother along with two older sisters, María Jesús and Antonia, and a younger brother, Agustín. Her dominance would come to influence Almodóvar's work. "As a result of having seen my mother fight it out always, it's the women who end up running life in my films," he told Vanity Fair.

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