In the award-winning drama Pain and Love, Pedro Almodóvar looks deep into his soul – and uses Antonio Banderas as his Avatar. Now he is celebrating his German free TV premiere.
With films like “Tie me up!” and “Volver” Pedro Almodóvar became one of the most important filmmakers in Spain. Antonio Banderas starred in eight of his films – so he was even more often in front of the camera than Penélope Cruz, who is sometimes referred to as his muse. The range of collaborations between Almodóvar and Banderas is huge: Banderas celebrated his acting debut in a marginal role in “Labyrinth of Passions”, in the most recent collaboration between them he played Almodóvar himself.
Because the multiple award-winning “Leid und Glorium” is about the fictional director Salvador Mallo, not only his taste in fashion but also his hairstyle and his biography almost cry out for Almodóvar. Now the soulful drama is celebrating its German free TV premiere – today from 8:15 p.m. on arte. Alternatively, you can watch the film in the arte media library or simply get it on DVD and Blu-ray.
Directly after “Leid und Glorium” arte is also showing the accompanying documentary “Antonio Banderas / Pedro Almodóvar: The Master and His Muse” which is well worth seeing.. In just under an hour, it deals with the human and artistic relationship between the filmmaker and his multiple star actor. The documentary is also available in the arte media library and on the TV broadcaster’s YouTube channel.
“Pain and Glory”: Almódovar’s quasi-biography
Salvador Mallo (Asier Flores when he was young, later: Antonio Banderas) grew up in Valencia, Spain. He discovered a passion for the art form of film early on, which is why he left his homeland, his father (Raúl Arévalo) and his mother (Penélope Cruz) behind and moved to Madrid in the 1980s. There he promises himself a film career – and that actually follows. He becomes an acclaimed director with a life of excess, ups and downs. In the present, he is grappling with his past for current reasons – and with missed opportunities…
Salvador Mallo is pushed into a phase of melancholy by the digital processing and re-performance of one of his classics. The same happened to Pedro Almodóvar, who came up with the brilliant idea of casting his longtime professional companion Banderas in this role. Not only does Banderas have a unique connection to Almodóvar and has a complex relationship with him: Banderas has also experienced enormous career highs and sobering lows.
Banderas manages to process this in Pain and Glory in a performance that ranks among the best of his career and is definitely his most sensitive acting effort: Looking back on mistakes and setbacks with humility on heights, grief, world-weariness, and regret, Banderas is able to blend his own vita and that of his director. The result is extremely touching – and by no means as vain as it might sound when written down.
Because despite all the parallels between Almodóvar and his “Sorrow and Glory” protagonist, this light-flooded film about aging, love and forgiveness, captured in beautiful colors, is not an ego show. Not only that Almodóvar ascribes unfavorable character weaknesses to his cinematic alter ego; the essence of the film is far removed from any showbiz aspects:
First and foremost, “Leid und Glorium” is a sensitively told, queer old age love story that would touch the heart even without any Almodóvar parallels. Of course, the intimacy of this quasi-autobiography lends Pain and Glory a memorable authenticity that makes this film one of his best!