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Pedro Almodóvar

Born in the Calzada de Calatrava province of Ciudad Real, in the heart of La Mancha in the 50s, Pedro Almodóvar moved with his family to Estremadura when he was eight years old. There, he studied for his elementary and high school diplomas in spite of the Salesian Fathers and the Franciscans.

At 17, he left home and moved to Madrid, with no money and no job, but with a very specific project in mind: to study cinema and direct films. It was impossible to enroll in the Official Film School because Franco had just closed it. As he couldn't learn the language of film, he decided to learn the content, that is: life, living…

Despite the dictatorship that was suffocating the country, for an adolescent from the provinces, Madrid represented culture, independence and freedom. He worked at many, sporadic jobs but couldn't buy his first Super-8mm camera until he got a serious job at the National Telephone Company of Spain where he worked for 12 years as an administrative assistant, 12 years which he also devoted to numerous activities which provided his real training as a filmmaker and as a person. In the mornings at the telephone company, he acquired an in-depth knowledge of the Spanish middle class at the start of the consumer era; its dramas and misfortunes were a veritable goldmine for a future storyteller. In the evenings and at night, he wrote, loved, performed with the mythical independent theatre group Los Goliardos and made films in Super-8 (his only training as a filmmaker). He collaborated with various underground magazines and wrote stories, some of which were published. He was a member of a parodic punk-rock group, Almodóvar and McNamara, etc.

He had the good fortune that the opening of his first film in commercial cinemas coincided with the beginning of democracy in Spain. After 18 months of eventful shooting on 16mm, Pepi, Luci, Bom… was released in1980, a no-budget film made as a cooperative effort with the rest of the crew and the cast, all of whom were beginners with the exception of Carmen Maura.

In 1986, he founded the production company El Deseo S.A. with his brother Agustín. Their first project was Law of Desire. Since then, they have produced all the films that Pedro has written and directed, as well as producing the work of several young directors.

In 1988, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown brought him international recognition. Since then, his films have been shown around the world. With All About my Mother he won his first Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and also the Golden Globe, the César, three European Film Awards, the David de Donatello, two BAFTAs, seven Goyas and 45 other awards. Three years later, Talk to Her fared as well or better, receiving an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, five European Film Awards, two BAFTAs, the Nastro de Argento, the César and many other awards throughout the world (but not in Spain).

He produced three very special films, internationally acclaimed for their valour and delicacy (My Life Without Me, The Holy Girl and The Secret Life of Words).

In 2004, Bad Education was chosen to open the Cannes Festival. It received extraordinary reviews throughout the world, was nominated for numerous awards (Independent Spirit Awards, BAFTAs, César, European Film Awards) and won the prestigious Award for Best Foreign Film given by the New York Critics' Circle, as well as the Italian film critics' Nastro de Argento.

He probably benefits from the greatest freedom and independence of any director working today.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Pedro Almodóvar Facts

BirthdaySeptember 24, 1949 (74)
BirthplaceCalzada de Calatrava, Spain
Awards2003 BAFTA Awards: Best Screenplay (for Talk to Her)
2000 BAFTA Awards: David Lean Award for Direction (for Todo sobre mi madre)

Selected Filmography

All About My Mother
The Skin I Live In
Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
Live Flesh
Bad Education
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