Antonio Banderas is the aging director of Pedro Almodovar’s clearly autobiographical: “Pain and Glory” is a brilliant, self-deprecating story. ARTE is showing the film for the first time on free TV as part of a program focused on the Cannes Film Festival.
Suffering and glory
Drama • 05/08/2022• 8:15 pm
A film by Almodovar – this is what it says in the opening chapters of the series “Pain and Glory”. There is no Pedro, only Almodovar. The director presents himself as his own brand with his own promise. It fits perfectly with this 2019 movie, inspired by his life and work, and is now available for the first time on ARTE. With Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, the Spaniard is casting members of his film family in the lead roles, a choice that is never surprising. Somehow the influence of déjà vu creeps into you, yet this successful “Almodóvar” looks different.
The alter ego of director is called Salvador Mallo (played by Antonio Banderas). He is a man who directed his most famous films 30 years ago and is now in a period of creative stagnation. Salvador retired to his large apartment with several artworks to keep for his companions, and in the museum setting itself it looks like a famous gallery. Laid in twilight by painkillers, he spends many hours here. Chronic back pain deprives him of his freedom of movement, and his brain is tormented by a headache. Working again seemed impossible to him – Almodóvar himself had long suffered from migraines and severe back pain.
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Soon the past invades the present. A screening will be held on the anniversary of Salvador “Sabor”‘s most successful work in cinema, and he himself will present the film with the then-leading actor, jaded actor Alberto (Asier Etxeandia). But with his heroin consumption, he was one of the few that ensured filming would become a personal disaster for Salvador.
Reunion with lost love
The manager decides to drag himself into a taxi and sees Alberto. Ironically, the two brawlers find each other again when they use heroin together. Alberto even managed to convince him to perform a very personal and as yet unpublished monodrama about addiction. In it, Salvador, who was taking cocaine at the time, makes her own confession and recalls a tragic love in the 80s. The off-stage performance – an intensely long monologue by Asier Etxeandia as Alberto – puts Salvador in touch with his one-time sweetheart Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia), who happens to be in the theater. Finally, movement seems to be returning to his life again.
Fear of freezing in the face of past achievements paralyzes director Salvador in the film. On the other hand, Pedro Almodovar, who was around 70 when the movie was shot, appears to be living the exact opposite with his productivity. He has always been able to draw on the past without repeating himself.
“Sorrow and Glory” makes Salvador dream about his childhood when he was on drugs. He remembers how he had to move to a strange village and live in a cave, which resulted in magical haunted images in the movie. Because his mother (Penelope Cruz) has always managed to make the most of the situation. She was helped by an attractive young construction worker, and Salvador taught him to read and write in return.
Antonio Banderas won Best Actor in Cannes
However, Salvador himself had to go to school because that was the only place he had the opportunity to continue learning. A loving, but strict and at the same time beautiful mother who washes clothes trumps everything, makes life in the poverty of the fifties happy. Almodovar tells about it in a simplistic and self-ironising way.
However, the most powerful mother and son scene is provided by Antonio Banderas, who brought his elderly mother to his apartment in Madrid in the name of Salvador. How the love for her performances in Banderas’ suddenly changing look is touchingly beautiful. He left “Latin Lover” far behind and approached a character full of physical pain and self-doubt with great sensitivity – there was an Actor Award at Cannes for that. Nothing too much, just like in Almodovar’s production, which remains true to the strong visuals and strong colors of his earlier films. However, the great melodrama is missing – and gives way to a neatly drawn main character and her feelings.
With “Leid und Glorium”, Almodovar invites his audience into an intimate film experience that allows but does not parody humor, injects rightly big emotions and brings fantasy and truth into creative limbo. The work decorates the Spanish filmography. ARTE is showing the film as part of a focused program at the 75th International Cannes Film Festival, which takes place May 17-28. A total of 13 films will be shown in this vein, including several free TV premieres such as “Little Joe – Happiness is a Business” (2019) with Cannes Award winner Emily Beecham on Wednesday, May 11 at 8:15 p.m., or “Water the Lemon Tree” (2019) on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at 8:15 pm. Immediately after “Leid und Glorium” ARTE will screen the documentary “Antonio Banderas / Pedro Almodóvar” by Natalie Labarth at 10:05 pm. The film deals with the long artistic relationship between the actor and the director.
Suffering and Glory – Sunday. – ARTE: 8.15 pm
source: teleschau – der mediendienst GmbH