All About Almodóvar

A Complete Retrospective, January 6th – 22nd

BUY TICKETS ($12. Showtimes subject to change):
————————————————————————————————–
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown:
Friday, January 6th at 7:30pm and Saturday, January 14th at 5:00pm
The Skin I Live In: Friday, January 6th at 10:00pm and Thursday, January 19th at 10:15pm
All About My Mother: Saturday, January 7th at 7:30pm and Wednesday, January 18th at 10:15pm
Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom: Saturday, January 7th at 10:15pm
Broken Embraces: Sunday, January 8th at 1:00pm
Live Flesh: Sunday, January 8th at 10:00pm
Volver: Friday, January 13th at 7:30pm and Monday, January 23rd at 7:30pm
Matador: Friday, January 13th at 10:15pm
Bad Education: Saturday January, 14th at 7:30pm and Saturday, January 28th at 7:00pm
I’m So Excited: Saturday January, 14th at 10:00pm
Dark Habits: Sunday January. 15th at 4:15pm
Talk to Her: Sunday January, 15th at 7:00pm and Friday, January 27th at 7:30pm
Kika: Sunday, January 15th at 9:45pm
What Have I Done to Deserve This?: Thursday, January 19th at 7:30pm
Labyrinth of Passion: Friday, January 20th at 10:30pm
High Heels: Saturday, January 21st at 4:30pm
Law of Desire: Saturday, January 21st at 7:00pm
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!: Saturday, January 21st at 10:00pm, Tuesday, January 31st at 7:30pm, and Saturday, February 4th at 10:45pm
The Flower of My Secret: Sunday, January 22nd at 4:30pm
Julieta: Sunday, January 22nd at 7:00pm and Sunday, January 29th at 7:00pm

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (encore!)

Tie Me Up Tie Me Down 722_image_02_crop
2/4/2017 - 10:45PM

This followup to the international success of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown finds Ricky (Antonio Banderas) destructively infatuated with sub-par porno actress and former junkie Marina (Victoria Abril) after his release from a mental institution. Oscillating between unhinged and utterly charming–sometimes within the same scene–Banderas’ pathetic yet charismatic performance keeps the tone lighter than should be humanely possible, especially for the depiction of a relationship simply reeking of dysfunction. Popping primary colors inhabit the fashions and the apartments of this world, belying both the agony–and eventually, underscoring the ecstasy–of a Stockholm syndrome-induced romance. Slapped with an X-rating from the MPAA upon its controversial stateside release for a certain bathtub scene that suggests (gasp!) women might masturbate, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! was one of a handful of films that proved instrumental in the argument for the NC-17 rating to be wedged between the meaningless R and the hardcore X. So what is the line between admiring and leering? Almodóvar pretends he doesn’t know the answer–and fools us, if only momentarily, into believing we might not, either.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1989, 35mm, 101 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (encore!)

tiemeup
1/31/2017 - 7:30PM

This followup to the international success of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown finds Ricky (Antonio Banderas) destructively infatuated with sub-par porno actress and former junkie Marina (Victoria Abril) after his release from a mental institution. Oscillating between unhinged and utterly charming–sometimes within the same scene–Banderas’ pathetic yet charismatic performance keeps the tone lighter than should be humanely possible, especially for the depiction of a relationship simply reeking of dysfunction. Popping primary colors inhabit the fashions and the apartments of this world, belying both the agony–and eventually, underscoring the ecstasy–of a Stockholm syndrome-induced romance. Slapped with an X-rating from the MPAA upon its controversial stateside release for a certain bathtub scene that suggests (gasp!) women might masturbate, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! was one of a handful of films that proved instrumental in the argument for the NC-17 rating to be wedged between the meaningless R and the hardcore X. So what is the line between admiring and leering? Almodóvar pretends he doesn’t know the answer–and fools us, if only momentarily, into believing we might not, either.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1989, 35mm, 101 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Julieta (encore!)

julieta
1/29/2017 - 7PM

Almodóvar’s latest is yet another testament to his unwavering commitment to familial drama, the inner lives of women, and suspense in the Hitchcockian sense. With the elegance typical of his later work, he weaves together three stories by Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro, swapping the original chilly Canadian landscapes for the bright reds and mediterranean blues of Spain, of course. By way of a Hitchcock blonde – played by two women – an 80s story and a contemporary one unfold, and Almodóvar reminds us that while the Summer of Love was in 1969, the late-blooming Spain ushered in its own sexual revolution in the post-Franco 80s. Come for the salacious rendezvous on a train, stay for excellent performances from the film’s leading ladies.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2016, DCP, 99 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Bad Education (encore)

badeducation
1/28/2017 - 7PM

The prospect of Gael Garcia Bernal as a transvestite femme fatale with a score to settle should be enough to draw you in, but don’t come to Bad Education expecting mere eye candy: this dazzling and disturbing tale of trauma, blackmail and mistaken identity is one of Almodóvar’s darkest works. Genre fans will delight as Almodóvar’s cinephiliac imagination queers the conventions of noir: between multilayered flashbacks, gender-bending and back-stabbing, Bad Education is an “out” Out of the Past, a cross-dressing Criss-Cross. A perfect example of the director’s violent eroticism, the film is undeniably hot, but it also burns with anger: at the center of its intricate narrative is a profound outrage at the transgressions of abusive priests, made at the height of the scandals that rocked the Catholic Church in the mid-2000s. Nothing is what it seems in Bad Education, but one thing is certain: you’ll never hear “Moon River” the same way again.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2004, 35mm, 106 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Talk to Her (encore)

talktoher
1/27/2017 - 7:30PM

It’s truly rare for a filmmaker to produce at the height of their powers more than 20+ years into a career – but to paraphrase Orson Welles, Talk to Her is the movie that Almodóvar should offer up as bargain for his entrance to heaven. The plot is exceedingly simple: the lives of two men intersect in a hospital ward as they watch over women in comas. As with Volver a few years later, Almodóvar excavates familiar emotional spaces afforded by this simplicity, breaking free of his past genre and virtuosic technical experiments. His usual obsessions are on display, but explored with a newfound grace – every cut, frame orchestration, and tonal shift is loosely calibrated and intensely moving. From the first shot, Almodóvar reaches a heightened, hallucinatory dream-state with Talk To Her, producing a pure cinema that ultimately netted him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. (P.S.: see if you can spot Pina Bausch’s cameo as herself in the Cafe Muller scene!)

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2002, 35mm, 112 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Volver (encore)

volver
1/23/2017 - 7:30PM

In the hands of a lesser filmmaker, Volver’s talky plot and broad-stroke themes – sex, death, family, small-town superstition – might come off as kitsch. But Almodóvar’s framing and image balance sensibilities, his splashes of color and scope of space, lead up to one of the most eminently visually watchable movies of the decade. Penelope Cruz (at the height of her powers) leads a cast of working women in Madrid and the small-town La Mancha region through a tale of spectres, patricide, film crew soirees, and female relationships. If De Palma took the Hitchcockian aesthetic to the next logical level of formalist violence, then by contrast, Almodóvar’s take on the master is having fun with it all, from the canted camera angles to an absurdist dead body disposal. It’s also one of the most purely fun movies of its time, a reminder disappearing small-scale, yet ambitious cinema.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2006, 35mm, 121 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Julieta

julieta
1/22/2017 - 7PM

Almodóvar’s latest is yet another testament to his unwavering commitment to familial drama, the inner lives of women, and suspense in the Hitchcockian sense. With the elegance typical of his later work, he weaves together three stories by Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro, swapping the original chilly Canadian landscapes for the bright reds and mediterranean blues of Spain, of course. By way of a Hitchcock blonde – played by two women – an 80s story and a contemporary one unfold, and Almodóvar reminds us that while the Summer of Love was in 1969, the late-blooming Spain ushered in its own sexual revolution in the post-Franco 80s. Come for the salacious rendezvous on a train, stay for excellent performances from the film’s leading ladies.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2016, DCP, 99 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Flower of My Secret

The Flower of My Secret
1/22/2017 - 4:30PM

Taking a break from the hyperbole and sardonic irony typical of his wilder forays into absurdist comedy, Almodóvar’s The Flower of My Secret explores the life of romance novelist Leo Macias, a woman so self-hating, she develops one pseudonym solely to publicly attack the other. Giving us a glimpse into the boy who certainly sat cross-legged on his family room floor listening to his female relatives laugh, cry, kvetch and gossip, Almodóvar exhibits a dexterity of dialogue that could come only from a most keen observer of human behavior–including all the vitriol and, ultimately, forgiveness that comes with it. Those familiar with his later film Volver will giggle at the plot of Leo’s discarded “black” novel, The Freezer, while true Pedro fans will recognize her friend Betty’s vocation as a precursor to a sub-plot in his later, Oscar-winning All About My Mother.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1995, DCP, 103 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

tiemeup
1/21/2017 - 10PM

This followup to the international success of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown finds Ricky (Antonio Banderas) destructively infatuated with sub-par porno actress and former junkie Marina (Victoria Abril) after his release from a mental institution. Oscillating between unhinged and utterly charming–sometimes within the same scene–Banderas’ pathetic yet charismatic performance keeps the tone lighter than should be humanely possible, especially for the depiction of a relationship simply reeking of dysfunction. Popping primary colors inhabit the fashions and the apartments of this world, belying both the agony–and eventually, underscoring the ecstasy–of a Stockholm syndrome-induced romance. Slapped with an X-rating from the MPAA upon its controversial stateside release for a certain bathtub scene that suggests (gasp!) women might masturbate, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! was one of a handful of films that proved instrumental in the argument for the NC-17 rating to be wedged between the meaningless R and the hardcore X. So what is the line between admiring and leering? Almodóvar pretends he doesn’t know the answer–and fools us, if only momentarily, into believing we might not, either.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1989, 35mm, 101 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Law of Desire

lawofdesire1
1/21/2017 - 7PM

Coming off a desire-soaked, cresting thriller high in Matador, Pedro set his sights on a convoluted homosexual love triangle in The Law of Desire. Pablo (Eusebio Poncela), a gay film director and writer, finds himself bored of cocaine nightlife and his young lover Juan (Miguel Molina), but finds his passion reignited by a new youngster (Antonio Banderas) while producing a one-woman show for his transsexual sister Tina (Almodóvar regular Carmen Maura). A masterful display of pacing and tone, The Law of Desire cemented Almodóvar’s status as a great filmmaker and helped to propel Antonio Banderas to international fame. Pauline Kael wrote of the film (alongside Raising Arizona) in The New Yorker, “Almodóvar’s tone is not like anyone else’s… this director manages to joke about the self-dramatizing that can go on at the movies, and at the same time reactivate it. The film is festive. It doesn’t disguise its narcissism; it turns it into bright-colored tragicomedy.”

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1987, DCP, 101 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

High Heels

highheels
1/21/2017 - 4:30PM

Almodóvar gives free rein to his most outrageous impulses in High Heels, a delectably tasteless postmodern soap opera. Irreverently channelling sordid Old Hollywood sagas like Mommie Dearest, this art-damaged cocktail of glamour, resentment, sex, pills and murder teeters wildly between ludicrous melodrama and lacerating satire. High Heels may not be Almodóvar’s most revered effort, but it boasts two perfectly pitched leads (Marisa Paredes as a man-eating, globe-trotting pop star; Victoria Abril as her unstable, long-neglected daughter) and the scarlet stamp of its director’s caustic wit. It may come on like an old-fashioned tearjerker, but when it really gets unhinged–an astonishing live TV confession translated into sign language, an out-of-nowhere song and dance number in the most fashionable women’s prison in film history–you’re more likely to be crying of laughter.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1991, DCP, 112 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Labyrinth of Passion

labyrinthofpassion
1/20/2017 - 10:30PM

Labyrinth of Passion, Almodóvar’s delirious second feature, out-screws just about every screwball comedy that came before it. The perversely overstuffed plot follows nymphomaniac punk singer Sexilia, whose love affair with a disguised gay son of a Middle Eastern emperor is threatened by a group of terrorists led by a former lover (Antonio Banderas, in his first role) and haunted by repressed childhood traumas. Veering gleefully off-course at every turn, the narrative often disappears underneath surreal subplots and inflammatory set-pieces (including a sneering disco-punk musical number sung by the director himself), recalling the dirty-minded digressions of an earlier Spanish provocateur, Luis Buñuel. Like his subversive predecessor, Almodóvar presents society as a complex maze of sexual dysfunction, but Labyrinth isn’t some arthouse brain-teaser: it’s a bratty, coked-up, incestuous, orgiastic, scatological romantic comedy about the transformative power of true love.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1982, HDCAM, 100 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Skin I Live In (Encore!)

skin i live in
1/19/2017 - 10:15PM

“There are several genres nimbly folded into The Skin I Live In, which might also be described as an existential mystery, a melodramatic thriller, a medical horror film or just a polymorphous extravaganza. In other words, it’s an Almodóvar movie with all the attendant gifts that implies: lapidary technique, calculated perversity, intelligent wit.” – Manohla Dargis

There are times at which The Skin I Live in feels so absurd, so ignorant of its audience’s propensity for obedience, that the film threatens to leap into madness and lose all credibility. Pedro’s foray into horror packs more plot twists than you’ll know what to do with, with each reveal more shocking than the last – but even a skeptic can’t help but be taken in by this tale’s absurd twists, masterfully orchestrated with flashbacks and surveillance cameras, all the while recalling the Master of Suspense and touchstone Vertigo. Mad scientist Antonio Banderas is a truly repulsive figure, but he’s magnetic nonetheless, reminding us that the way men and women look at each other – in every variation of this gesture under the sun – is Almodóvar’s bread and butter.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2011, 35mm, 120 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

What Have I Done to Deserve This?

whathaveidone
1/19/2017 - 7:30PM

With a set by DJ Nadie

A wild flourish of a movie, Almodóvar’s fourth feature revels in the mid-60′s Godardian toolbox while aesthetically honing in on the malaise of an urban housewife in Madrid. That may sound dark, but this is Pedro we’re talking here, so the film’s fishing-line of a plot serves more as an excuse for sex jokes, absurdist twists, and visual inventiveness. What Have I Done To Deserve This? shows Almodóvar at peak critical experimentation: every frame, color, and camera swirl is intricately and delightfully plotted. Yet in the midst of the comedic chaos, the film always returns to reflective moments of denouement, in which Almodóvar turns his camera on the thoroughfares and clothesline-strewn apartment projects of post-Franco Madrid.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1984, DCP, 101min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

All About My Mother (encore!)

allaboutmymother
1/18/2017 - 10:15PM

A grieving mother, a pregnant nun, a trans sex worker and a lesbian stage actress collide in this near-fantasy that vacillates with windshield-wiper intensity between poignant gravity and razor-sharp wit. Known as one of the foremost “actor’s directors,” Almodóvar deftly shepherds Cecilia Roth, Penelope Cruz, and the delightfully pugnacious Antonia San Juan toward singular, nuanced performances throughout a narrative so multifaceted and evolutionary, it almost demands a fine-print road map. This contemporary chamber play, in which each subplot could easily sustain its own feature-length film, unfolds by way of a vibrant cross-section of women yanked directly from Spanish barrios, classic Hollywood dramas, and scenes from late-career Cassavetes for Almodóvar’s ultimate example of the profound interconnectedness of the feminine experience.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1999, 35mm, 101 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Kika

KIKA
1/15/2017 - 9:45PM

After his wife commits suicide, famous American author Nicholas Pierce (Peter Coyote, wielding fluent Spanish!) lusts after coquettish esthetician Kika (Veronica Forque, What Have I Done to Deserve This?) as she slips between his sheets and the bed of his wildly successful photographer stepson in this unfurling, Matroyshka-esque narrative centered on a wide-eyed woman constantly “looking for direction.” With heavy nods toward the mammary-worshiping Russ Meyer, this near-Shakespearean tragicomedy is a visual feast of expressive color, drunk on the emerging post-Franco Spanish aesthetic that encouraged artistic individuality. Outrageous, bosom-bearing (and curiously accentuating) costume contributions come from Jean-Paul Gaultier, made specifically for pre-YouTube exploitation TV host Andrea “Scarface” Caracortada (Victoria Abril, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!). This glorious celebration of pop and high art plays death and sex alternately for laughs in one of Almodóvar’s most visually sensational feats, overflowing with the dark, often funny absurdity of everyday life.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1993, DCP, 114 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Talk to Her

download-1046-low_Hable2
1/15/2017 - 7PM

It’s truly rare for a filmmaker to produce at the height of their powers more than 20+ years into a career – but to paraphrase Orson Welles, Talk to Her is the movie that Almodóvar should offer up as bargain for his entrance to heaven. The plot is exceedingly simple: the lives of two men intersect in a hospital ward as they watch over women in comas. As with Volver a few years later, Almodóvar excavates familiar emotional spaces afforded by this simplicity, breaking free of his past genre and virtuosic technical experiments. His usual obsessions are on display, but explored with a newfound grace – every cut, frame orchestration, and tonal shift is loosely calibrated and intensely moving. From the first shot, Almodóvar reaches a heightened, hallucinatory dream-state with Talk To Her, producing a pure cinema that ultimately netted him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. (P.S.: see if you can spot Pina Bausch’s cameo as herself in the Cafe Muller scene!)

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2002, 35mm, 112 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Dark Habits

darkhabits
1/15/2017 - 4:15PM

Almodóvar’s third film is an explosion of radical comedic and formal visual experiments – like Robert Bresson via Une Femme est Une Femme. Yolanda, a young nightclub singer, finds herself drawn to a convent after her lover dies of an overdose. From there, well, things get pretty absurd. Formally inventive at every turn, Dark Habits is the work of an exceptionally talented young filmmaker throwing everything at the wall in pursuit of pure visual splendor. Almodóvar drew inspiration from Marlene Dietrich and Douglas Sirk films, but also adapts his unique cultural and situational-comedic sense – and there is a lot of heart on display in the invectives Almodóvar hurls at organized religion in modern Spain. It’s also fun to just watch Almodóvar throw his hat in the ring for the funniest movie ever made about nuns and heroin.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1983, DCP, 114 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

I'm So Excited

imsoexcited
1/14/2017 - 10PM

What would you do if you knew the flight you were on might end in a fatal crash? Almodóvar’s campy, carbonated comedy suggests drugging the unwitting passengers, getting loaded on tequila, blowing a stranger, and 69ing in the cockpit–and if that’s not enough to distract you from your impending doom, there’s always the anal cavity-muled mescaline from the newlywed groom and his sleep-fucking bride! But first, witness the delightful, tarmac-bound cameos from Pedro besties Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, whose subplot is the reason we’re in this mess to begin with. Melodrama mixes with total WTF-ery as a middle-aged dominatrix realizes she’s joined the Mile High Club with her would-be assassin thanks to a premonition from a psychic virgin, while flight attendants Joserra, Fajas and Ulloa–our flamboyant, ersatz Three Stooges–act as guides through this outrageous, jaunty riff on a tale of terror in the skies.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2013, DCP, 90 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Bad Education

badeducation
1/14/2017 - 7:30PM

The prospect of Gael Garcia Bernal as a transvestite femme fatale with a score to settle should be enough to draw you in, but don’t come to Bad Education expecting mere eye candy: this dazzling and disturbing tale of trauma, blackmail and mistaken identity is one of Almodóvar’s darkest works. Genre fans will delight as Almodóvar’s cinephiliac imagination queers the conventions of noir: between multilayered flashbacks, gender-bending and back-stabbing, Bad Education is an “out” Out of the Past, a cross-dressing Criss-Cross. A perfect example of the director’s violent eroticism, the film is undeniably hot, but it also burns with anger: at the center of its intricate narrative is a profound outrage at the transgressions of abusive priests, made at the height of the scandals that rocked the Catholic Church in the mid-2000s. Nothing is what it seems in Bad Education, but one thing is certain: you’ll never hear “Moon River” the same way again.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2004, 35mm, 106 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

womenontheverge
1/14/2017 - 5PM

This fast-paced celebration of hysteria put Almodóvar on the map by joyfully parading his depthless obsession with women – especially the wild ones. Driven to the brink by her married lover, Pepa (Carmen Maura) cries at work, lights her bed on fire, and loads the gazpacho with barbiturates. Her girlfriends don’t fare much better in this melodramatic farce that runs at a constant parody-level soap-operatic pitch. It’s no small coincidence that during filming Carmen Maura grew so angry with the director she outright refused to speak to him. Men drive the women of this movie to crisis – a trash collector, Shiite terrorists, boyfriends, Antonio Banderas – and the women fight back as a series of peculiar coincidences tightens the social fabric of Madrid. “I thought this only happened in the movies,” a cab driver tells Pepa after she has him tail another cab. Yeah yeah, her expression says, but it’s headed somewhere very interesting.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1988, DCP, 88 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Matador

matador
1/13/2017 - 10:15PM

Bull gorings, sexual desire, religious conflict, and absurdist black comedy – all par for the course with Almodóvar, but on delirious display in this early tour-de-force. Angel Jiminez (played by a crisp, young Antonio Banderas) is a student matador who, suffering from vertigo, is prone to bouts of real and imagined sexual violence. Angel confesses to several murders he did not commit, and from there, well – let’s just say this is a procedural by way of Pialat. Bursting with color, feverish with dream-logic, and finely-paced, Matador, along with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, is Almodóvar beginning to find his mojo.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1986, DCP, 110min

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Volver

volver
1/13/2017 - 7:30PM

In the hands of a lesser filmmaker, Volver’s talky plot and broad-stroke themes – sex, death, family, small-town superstition – might come off as kitsch. But Almodóvar’s framing and image balance sensibilities, his splashes of color and scope of space, lead up to one of the most eminently visually watchable movies of the decade. Penelope Cruz (at the height of her powers) leads a cast of working women in Madrid and the small-town La Mancha region through a tale of spectres, patricide, film crew soirees, and female relationships. If De Palma took the Hitchcockian aesthetic to the next logical level of formalist violence, then by contrast, Almodóvar’s take on the master is having fun with it all, from the canted camera angles to an absurdist dead body disposal. It’s also one of the most purely fun movies of its time, a reminder disappearing small-scale, yet ambitious cinema.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2006, 35mm, 121 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Live Flesh

liveflesh
1/8/2017 - 10PM

Taut and torrid, Live Flesh delivers everything you could possibly want from a 90s erotic thriller: smoldering glances, smoking guns and heaps of high-class carnality. Approaching Dostoevsky by way of Eszterhas, Almodóvar sharpens a paperback tale of infidelity and revenge into a something both poetic and political. Pared-down by its director’s florid standards, Live Flesh still surprises at every turn–nowhere more vividly than in Javier Bardem’s portrayal of David, a cop-turned-Paralympian trying to save his marriage after the assailant whose bullet put him in a wheelchair is released from prison. Intense, athletic and uncontainable, Bardem pushes Almodóvar to new kinetic and expressive heights, yielding some of the director’s most viscerally thrilling sequences to date. While its technique and emotional depth paved the way for the masterpieces to come, Live Flesh also satisfies a more basic moviegoing lust–for unadulterated popcorn.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1997, 35mm, 103 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Broken Embraces

broken embrances
1/8/2017 - 1PM

Roger Ebert put it best: “a voluptuary of a film, drunk on primary colors, caressing Penelope Cruz, using the devices of a Hitchcock to distract us with surfaces while the sinister uncoils beneath.” Or perhaps the devices of a De Palma – the uncoiling sinister is closer to the surface than in some of Almodóvar’s other works – but that’s not a rag on it. Broken Embraces is a movie about obsession itself, through the lens of moviemaking, writing, Madrid nightclubbing, and infidelity. Lluis Homar and Penelope Cruz lead an ensemble cast of Almodóvar regulars as a blind screenwriter recalls his tragic on-set affair with a former actress and mistress of an elderly businessman. Come for the classic Almodóvar tropes – primary colors, sex, intricate shot design – and stay for Penelope Cruz’s Audrey Hepburn impression.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2009, DCP, 127 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Girls Like Mom

pepilucibom
1/7/2017 - 10:15PM

With his 1980 feature debut, Almodóvar distills the confrontational, Rabelaisian essence of the Madrileña movement that erupted in the aftermath of the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. A grotesque comic onslaught straight from the underground, Pepi, Luci, Bom careens dizzily through a ramshackle plot about a bored stoner heiress (Carmen Maura) taking revenge on her rapist–by luring his repressed masochistic wife into the sadistic embrace of a lesbian punk diva. Garish, tawdry and cheap, the film flaunts its technical crudeness as flamboyantly as its sexual cruelty, but even at his most rough-edged, Almodóvar’s infallible eye and uncommon facility with actors show a talent quickly outgrowing the inspirations of Waters and Warhol. Like any good punk, Almodóvar is both a hopeless romantic and an unapologetic sell-out: the film’s most unexpected transgression may be a sharp turn towards the sincere, anticipating the emotional vulnerability and commercial ambition of his “mature” works.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1980, DCP, 82 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

All About My Mother

allaboutmymother
1/7/2017 - 7:30PM

A grieving mother, a pregnant nun, a trans sex worker and a lesbian stage actress collide in this near-fantasy that vacillates with windshield-wiper intensity between poignant gravity and razor-sharp wit. Known as one of the foremost “actor’s directors,” Almodóvar deftly shepherds Cecilia Roth, Penelope Cruz, and the delightfully pugnacious Antonia San Juan toward singular, nuanced performances throughout a narrative so multifaceted and evolutionary, it almost demands a fine-print road map. This contemporary chamber play, in which each subplot could easily sustain its own feature-length film, unfolds by way of a vibrant cross-section of women yanked directly from Spanish barrios, classic Hollywood dramas, and scenes from late-career Cassavetes for Almodóvar’s ultimate example of the profound interconnectedness of the feminine experience.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1999, 35mm, 101 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

The Skin I Live In

skin i live in
1/6/2017 - 10PM

Co-presented by Friday Night Frights

“There are several genres nimbly folded into The Skin I Live In, which might also be described as an existential mystery, a melodramatic thriller, a medical horror film or just a polymorphous extravaganza. In other words, it’s an Almodóvar movie with all the attendant gifts that implies: lapidary technique, calculated perversity, intelligent wit.” – Manohla Dargis

There are times at which The Skin I Live in feels so absurd, so ignorant of its audience’s propensity for obedience, that the film threatens to leap into madness and lose all credibility. Pedro’s foray into horror packs more plot twists than you’ll know what to do with, with each reveal more shocking than the last – but even a skeptic can’t help but be taken in by this tale’s absurd twists, masterfully orchestrated with flashbacks and surveillance cameras, all the while recalling the Master of Suspense and touchstone Vertigo. Mad scientist Antonio Banderas is a truly repulsive figure, but he’s magnetic nonetheless, reminding us that the way men and women look at each other – in every variation of this gesture under the sun – is Almodóvar’s bread and butter.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2011, 35mm, 120 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

womenontheverge
1/6/2017 - 7:30PM

This fast-paced celebration of hysteria put Almodóvar on the map by joyfully parading his depthless obsession with women – especially the wild ones. Driven to the brink by her married lover, Pepa (Carmen Maura) cries at work, lights her bed on fire, and loads the gazpacho with barbiturates. Her girlfriends don’t fare much better in this melodramatic farce that runs at a constant parody-level soap-operatic pitch. It’s no small coincidence that during filming Carmen Maura grew so angry with the director she outright refused to speak to him. Men drive the women of this movie to crisis – a trash collector, Shiite terrorists, boyfriends, Antonio Banderas – and the women fight back as a series of peculiar coincidences tightens the social fabric of Madrid. “I thought this only happened in the movies,” a cab driver tells Pepa after she has him tail another cab. Yeah yeah, her expression says, but it’s headed somewhere very interesting.

Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 1988, DCP, 88 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

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