Antonio Banderas and Pedro Almodóvar's 'Pain and Glory' marks a deeply personal reunion

Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Two standing ovations. When the film played at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, the audience first rose to its feet when filmmaker Pedro Almodovar and star Antonio Banderas came out to introduce the movie and then gave a longer, rousing standing ovation after the film.

It appeared to be an emotional moment for the men, who have a long relationship on and off the screen.

"It feels good," said Banderas the next morning about the response to the movie. "I mean, what the heck, I'm not going to say, 'Oh, no.' It feels good because it means that the movie connected with the audience, and when you are an artist that's what you want."

But it also means more than that. "Pain and Glory" is a reflective, emotional work about aging but also about coming to terms with your past. Banderas made his screen debut in Almodovar's 1982 film "Labyrinth of Passion" and went on to appear in films that launched them both to international acclaim, such as 1987's "Law of Desire," 1988's "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" and 1989's "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!"

And then they would not work together for more than 20 years.

Big legacies


Banderas left Spain for Hollywood to appear in movies such as "The Mambo Kings," "Philadelphia," "Interview With the Vampire," "Desperado" and "The Mask of Zorro." A four-time Golden Globe nominee, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his Broadway debut in "Nine" and last year received his second Emmy nomination playing Pablo Picasso in the limited series "Genius." He's also on screen in Steven Soderbergh's latest movie, the Netflix comedy "The Laundromat."

For his part, Almodovar won an Academy Award for original screenplay for "Talk to Her," which also earned him a director nomination, and his "All About My Mother" won the Oscar for foreign language film.

Their professional reunion came on the 2011 film "The Skin I Live In," a perverse thriller with Hitchcock overtones. "Pain and Glory" is their eighth movie together and is a deeply personal and earnest film from Almodovar, with Banderas playing a fictionalized version of the filmmaker himself.

The film premiered in the main competition at this year's Cannes Film Festival, where it garnered broad critical acclaim and Banderas received the best actor prize.


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