Pedro Almodovar Talks Being Spain’s “Enfant Terrible”, Returning To Comedy & Why He Loves UK Audiences – BAFTA Lecture


Prolific Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar (21 features and counting) has spoken about how at one point he believed his films could be “too outrageous” for some audiences, and why he would like to return to the comedy genre in the near future.

The director, whose latest film Pain And Glory just got nominated for 16 Goya Awards yesterday (December 2), was delivering a BAFTA Screenwriters Lecture in London on Saturday (November 30).

“In my beginning when I had a reputation of being the Spanish enfant terrible, I never tried or wanted to outrage anyone. It was my way of telling the story, it was my way of watching the world around me, so I respect when I was outrageous, but I didn’t try,” Almodovar said in a post-lecture Q&A with Brit producer Duncan Kenworthy, after playing clips from his works including 2002 Bafta-winning drama Talk To Her.

“When I write a script, it doesn’t matter what the inspiration is, there’s a moment where fiction dominates the story. And what matters is the result is plausible as fiction, even if it has moved away from reality,” he added on his writing process.

Almodovar also discussed his appreciation for the UK’s cinema-going public, who have consistently turned out for his films over the years, despite a wider apathy towards foreign language cinema in the country. Pain And Glory, for example, grossed $1.9m from its UK run to make it the territory’s best-performing arthouse foreign language title of the year.

“I’m overwhelmed that my movies worked so well here because really our cultures are very different and at the beginning I always thought I’d be too outrageous for the British audience,” he commented, adding that he enjoyed feeling the “reciprocity with the British audience.”

Quizzed by Kenworthy if his films had become “a little more serious” over the years, including in Pain And Glory which the producer noted contained “not much comedy but very touching, strong emotional stuff,” Almodovar said that he would like to return to the comedic genre at some point.

“I would like to come back to comedy, but I don’t know how and when. I really would like to write a new comedy. But I’m not the owner of the story, the story comes to me and I have the first idea, and the latest ideas are always very dramatic and then I have to play my role as the medium of the narrative to develop them the best I can,” he explained.

“But it’s true that it’s been a while since I’ve had a comedy idea. I don’t know if it’s the passage of time, or if I’m just getting old, but I would like to recover the spirit of those early films.”

Pain And Glory is Spain’s submission to the Best International Feature Film race at the 2020 Oscars.

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