Pedro Almodóvar will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at this year’s Venice Film Festival (August 28 – September 7, 2019).
The decision was agreed by the board of the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, which confirmed the proposal made by the festival director Alberto Barbera.
Accepting the award, Spanish filmmaking icon Almodóvar declared, “I am very excited and honoured with the gift of this Golden Lion. I have very good memories of the Venice Film Festival. My international debut took place there in 1983 with Dark Habits. It was the first time one of my films travelled out of Spain, it was my international baptism and a wonderful experience, as it was my return with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in 1988. This Lion is going to become my pet, along with the two cats I live with. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for giving me this award”.
Venice’s Barbera declared, “Almodóvar isn’t only the greatest and most influential Spanish director since Buñuel, he is a filmmaker who has offered us the most multifaceted, controversial, and provocative portraits of post-Franco Spain. The topics of transgression, desire, and identity are the terrain of choice for his films, which he imbues with corrosive humor and adorns with a visual splendor that confers unusual radiance on the aesthetic camp and pop art to which he explicitly refers. Lovesickness, the heartache of abandonment, the contradictions of desire, and the lacerations of depression converge in movies that straddle melodrama and its parody, achieving peaks of emotional authenticity that redeem any potential formal excess.”
He continued, “Without forgetting that Almodóvar excels, above all, in painting incredibly original female portraits, thanks to an exceptional empathy which allows him to represent their power, emotional richness, and inevitable weaknesses with a rare and touching authenticity.”
In 1986, Almodóvar founded production company El Deseo 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, they have also produced other young directors. In 1988, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown brought him international recognition. Since then, his films have opened all around the world.
With All About My Mother (1999) he won his first Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, he was also awarded as Best Director in Cannes Film Festival. Three years later, Talk to Her got him an Academy Award for Best Script. In 2004, Bad Education was chosen to open the Cannes Festival.
In 2006, he presented Volver in Cannes Film Festival, where it got the Best Screenplay Award as well as the Best Actress Award for the six actresses of the film, leaded by Penélope Cruz, who would eventually became the first Spanish actress nominated for an Academy Award for a Spanish speaking film. His latest film Pain And Glory also debuted at this year’s Cannes.