Pedro Almodóvar Shares Quarantine Film Recommendations, Memories of Madonna

A new essay from the great filmmaker covers a lot of ground

Pedro Almodóvar in 2017
Pedro Almodóvar in 2017.
Ruben Ortega/Creative Commons

Great filmmakers are often great storytellers; it’s something that comes with the territory. And if you’re looking for an fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the film industry, a new essay by Pedro Almodóvar, published in translation at IndieWire, has much to recommend itself. While he engages in social isolation in Madrid, the great filmmaker has been writing about his life — from bygone encounters with Hollywoof royalty to more recent memories of award-season events.

Almodóvar’s essay covers a lot of ground, and is written in a somewhat free-associative style. A passing mention of James Ellroy’s novels of morally flawed police in Los Angeles segues into a paean to the films of Brian De Palma — who brought Ellroy’s novel The Black Dahlia to the big screen, with mixed results.

Thinking of De Palma’s filmography in turn prompts Almodóvar to offer some viewing suggestion for cinephiles with extra time on their hands:

I would recommend you many others by De Palma before that one: “Sisters,” “Phantom of the Paradise,” “Carlito’s Way,” “Body Double” — with Melanie Griffith at the peak of her powers, skinny as a rake — and above all, “Scarface” with Al Pacino. Don’t bother with “The Black Dahlia” and organize yourselves a program with all of those films, you’ll thank me later.

Almodóvar also shares his memories of repeatedly conversing with Madonna — including on the set of the Warren Beatty-directed Dick Tracy and during Madonna’s subsequent Blonde Ambition tour. Things reach a climax at a surreal dinner at which  frequent Almodóvar collaborator Antonio Banderas was also present.

There are plenty of other amazing moments to be found throughout the director’s essay, including a moment where he and Annette Bening bond over their shared admiration for the writings of Lucia Berlin. Almodóvar also writes that he thought Adam Sandler “was wonderful” in Uncut Gems. If Sandler is seeking another prestigious filmmaker to work with, one could only imagine what the two of them might come up with.

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