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Pedro Almodóvar Caballero (Calzada de Calatrava, Ciudad Real, September 25, 1949) is a Spanish film director, screenwriter and producer, who has achieved the greatest acclaim and resonance outside Spain. the last decades since the filmmaker Luis Buñuel. He has received the main international cinematographic awards, among other two Oscars, in various categories and several Goya Awards. In 2017 he was the president of the jury of the Cannes Film Festival.
He holds the position of Knight of the Order of the French Legion of Honor (1997), in addition to having obtained the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts (1998). He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Harvard University in 2009, a decoration he also received in June 2016 at the University of Oxford.
Childhood and youth (1949-1985)
He was born on September 25, 1949 in Calzada de Calatrava, in a family of muleteers, with a large presence of women, whose world would be reflected in films like Volver. His parents were Antonio Almodóvar (died in 1980) and Francisca Caballero (1916-1999). He migrated to Orellana la Vieja and later to Madrigalejo (Cáceres) and studied high school in Cáceres, capital with the Salesian and Franciscan Fathers, when he became a movie enthusiast. The first communion was made in the Monegrino village of Poleñino, province of Huesca.
At eighteen he moved to Madrid to study film, but could not enroll in the Film School, recently closed. He then worked in all kinds of jobs until he achieved a position of ordinance in Telefonica, which he kept for twelve years, at the same time that he plunged headlong into the world of Madrid’s movida, and was a member of the theater group Los Goliardos, in who met Felix Rotaeta and Carmen Maura, and the duo of punk-glam parodic rock Almodóvar & amp; McNamara in which, next to Fabio McNamara (Fabio de Miguel), generated such comical songs as Big bargain or I’m going to be a mom.
He also wrote the short novel Fuego en las entrañas, a adult entertainment fotonovela (All yours), multiple stories in newspapers (El País, Diario 16 and La Luna) and countercultural comics such as Star, El Víbora and Vibraciones, where he created a character own, called Patty Diphusa, protagonist of the novel that bears his name published in 1991, which was a great publishing success and one of the most significant works of the emergence of homosexual literature in Spain in the 1990s.
He directed his first film, Pepi, Luci, Bom and other girls in the bunch, with some 500 000 pesetas, which he obtained from his friends and the script of General Erections, which El Víbora had commissioned.
His popular recognition would begin, however, with the film What have I done to deserve this? (1984), also starring Carmen Maura, fetish actress of his first films. In 1985 he filmed the medium length film Trailer for lovers of the forbidden, commissioned by TVE for the program La edad de oro. This stage of initiation closes with the disturbing, and misunderstood at the time, Matador
Maturity (since 1986)
In 1986, he founded, together with his brother Agustín, the production company El Deseo, whose first film would be La ley del deseo (1987), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), Tie Me Up! (1990) and Tacones lejanos (1991), which would allow him to achieve some international repercussion, especially in Argentina and France, and abundant international awards. Women on the verge of an attack of nerves would be the first contact of Almodóvar with the Oscars, when being selected by the Academy of the Arts and the Cinematographic Sciences of Hollywood like candidate to the Oscar to the best film in foreign tongue.
After the defeat of Kika (1993), his career did not reach a resounding success until 1999, with the international impact of Todo sobre mi madre, which won numerous awards around the world, including the first Oscar, in the category of Best Non-English Speaking Film. At this time began the disagreement of Almodóvar with the Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences of Spain, to declare, in 2003, that the academy had been wrong to not select his Talk with her (2002) as a Spanish candidate to represent Spain at the Óscar awards. In the end, the Hollywood academy discarded Los lunes al sol (2002), by Fernando León de Aranoa, as a finalist for the aforementioned category, and on the contrary, awarded the Oscar for the best script to Talk to her, and Almodóvar was a candidate, also, in the section of best director.
However, the 2004 Goya awards would again be for the most part in Alejandro Amenábar’s film Mar adentro, and they left none to La mala educación. Although Mar adentro won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, while La mala educación had a mixed reception from the public and critics, a year later Pedro Almodóvar and his brother Agustín would leave the Spanish academy, in disagreement with the current system of voting and by certain animosity of the academics towards their work.
Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz at the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 2006.
After the death of his mother, he recalled his childhood in Volver (2006), a film that supposed a kind of “reconciliation” between Almodóvar and the Spanish film academy (he was awarded five Goya awards), as well as his reunion with the actress Carmen Maura. In addition, this work continued the trend of international success, both he and his main actress, Penélope Cruz, who along with the rest of the female cast of the film was awarded at the Cannes Festival. He also received two other important national awards: the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 2006 and the Terenci Moix Award in 2007.
Finally, at the Goya Awards Gala 2010, on February 14, Almodóvar was introduced by Rosa María Sardá and Andreu Buenafuente to present the award for the best film. The surprise was capital, since no attendee at the ceremony knew that he would attend, except the presenter, and the President of the Academy, Alex de la Iglesia. With this, the reconciliation between Almodovar and the Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences of Spain was staged. On January 10, 2012, the director was nominated for the Goya Awards for best film for La piel que habito.
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