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« Beauty vs Beast: Still I Think He's Rather Tasty | Main | New Podcast: Poms, The Hustle, and Under the Silver Lake »
Monday
May202019

Cannes: Pedro's "Pain and Glory" is a hit at Cannes

by Nathaniel R

Antonio, Penelope, and Pedro together once again.

Hang this photo in the Louvre, s'il vous plaît. Loyal readers know that Pedro Almodóvar is my favourite living director so I bring you glorious news from Cannes -- Pedro's latest, Pain and Glory, starring his only real male muse Antonio Banderas and featuring his current female muse Penélope Cruz, is winning reviews that are much closer to glorious than painful. It could well be in contention for prizes with the jury...

The film is a self-reflective drama about a filmmaker named Salvador Mallo (basically a version of Pedro himself) reflecting on the choice's he's made in life. Naturally it's being compared to Fellini's 8 1/2. Spain has always had a tense relationship with their most famous auteur so we can't count on the country submitting Pain & Glory for Best International Feature but regardless of whether or not they do, Sony Pictures Classics is reportedly planning a big push in the fall (It opens in the US on October 4th) having had Oscar and box office success with Pedro before.

As for the stars, Banderas is winning uniformly excellent reviews. He's now made 8 pictures with Pedro and Penelope has made 6 but the only time they've actually worked together within Pedro's movies was their joint cameo in I'm So Excited (2013). Cruz plays Banderas's mother in flashbacks to his childhood here.

Despite the overall kind reviews the BBC doesn't like it much calling it self-indulgent and "not painful, but not glorious, either." The Guardian fell hard saying "this movie was running so smoothly and so seductively that it could have gone on for another five hours". IndieWire calls it Pedro's best in years and adds "in the pantheon of the films-about-filmmaking genre, it’s a paragon of the form". Variety loves it too calling it "a mature work of meticulously tuned metafiction" and describing it as subtle and authentic even while "erupting with so many of the director’s signature touches — bold colors, passionate embraces, and copious references to his cinematic inspirations..."

The StarsSupporting Roles in Pain & Glory: Asler Etxeandla, Nora Navas, and Leonardo Sbaraglia are all newbies to the Pedro filmography

Almodóvar doesn't always compete at Cannes but when he does prizes have followed half the time. Pain & Glory is his sixth film in the main competition but the Palme d'Or has always eluded him. Here are the times he competed or won prizes at the A list festivals (or was submitted at the Oscars).

CANNES 

  • All About My Mother (1999) - Best Director, The Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
  • Volver (2006) - Best Screenplay, Best Actress
  • Broken Embraces (2009) - no prizes
  • The Skin I Live In (2011) - Youth Award
  • Julieta (2016) - no prizes

BERLINALE 

  • Law of Desire (1987) - Teddy Award
  • Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down (1990) - no prizes 

VENICE

  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) - Best Actress (something called the "Golden Ciak" not the usual "Volpi Cup"), Best Screenplay

TORONTO 

  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) - People's Choice Award

OSCARS

  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988) - Best Foreign Film Nominee
  • High Heels (1991) -  submitted for Best Foreign Film. Wasn't nominated
  • Flower of My Secret (1995) - submitted for Best Foreign Film. Wasn't nominated
  • All About My Mother (1999) - Best Foreign Film Winner
  • Talk to Her (2002) - Best Director Nominee, Best Screenplay Win. (Was not submitted by Spain for Foreign Film though it surely would have won had it been since it took both the Globe and the BAFTA and was also a huge arthouse hit)
  • Volver (2006) - Best Actress Nominee (Submitted for Best Foreign Film. Wasn't nominated)
  • Julieta (2016) - Submitted for Best Foreign Film. Wasn't nominated

HOW DO YOU SUSPECT PAIN & GLORY WILL FARE AT CANNES AND WITH THE OSCARS?

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Reader Comments (30)

Asier Etxandia actually had a small role in Broken Embraces! :)

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJ.

Women on the Verge didn't win best actress in Venice. It was a tie between Shirley MacLaine for Madame Sousatzka and Isabelle Huppert for Story of Women - which features her best performance ever.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Madonna seared Antonio in my brain as "the guy who is in all the Pedro Almodovar movies."

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterH

Cal -- strange. IMDb says she did. I wonder if there was a different jury or a special award or something.

May 20, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

J -- did he? He's not listed on the cast list at IMDb. Was it uncredited?

H -- mine, too. But mostly because that's the way I already thought of him as I had seen WOMEN ON THE VERGE and LAW OF DESIRE already at that point.

May 20, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Volver wasn't nominated for best foreign film?!? Crazy town!

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

Leonardo Sbaraglia is wooonderful. Almodovar is this director who chooses well the actresses and also the actors. I googled Asler Etxeandla and I promise I'll learn how to pronounce his name before the week ends.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFeline Justice

If there's any Oscar love, my guess is Foreign Language Film and/or Best Actor for Antonio Banderas. He's also got THE LAUNDROMAT which'll help him.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew St.Clair

"Spain has always had a tense relationship with their most famous auteur"

Blame Panama

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarina Osorio

Nathaniel, I won the Golden Ciak Award not the Volpi Cup. IMDb is right.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Maura

marina- lol, I chuckled...

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

He should have won for Volver, his masterpiece.

Julieta Serrano is going the Goya for Best Suporting Actress. Sbaraglia gives the best performance. I don't think Banderas is better here than in Átame or Law of Desire. He's just a beautiful creature embracing old age and that's an awards magnet.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Ciak is an Italian movie magazine; it's their prize, not the Volpi Cup

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

this is thrilling news! almodovar is one of my top ten fave directors, but his last three films have been meh+ at best. the trailer for this movie is stunning and i can't wait to see it. would be great to have almodovar, banderas, and cruz back in the awards circuit.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEricB

That Volver wasn't even nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar is stunning to me, too. But, then, that was the infamous year when Pan's Labyrinth lost to The Lives of Others, and Salma Hayek was non-plussed by Canada's entry, Water. (The podcast, This Had Oscar Buzz, covered it all beautifully.)

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

This is a really, really bad title. Coming from a director whose films are usually more distinctively named.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -- Sounds amazing in Spanish.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarcel

This is a bigger threat than Roma to win Best Picture at the Oscars, given that Spain might not submit it... if it is not submitted, given how strong the chances are for Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Score, Film Editing and Cinematography nominations and in some cases, wins, I simply can't discard that Pain & Glory may have an outside shot to surprise and win Best Picture... but I'm more inclined to think Pedro is winning either directing or original screenplay, and Banderas has a certain shot to surprise at Lead Actor as a career-achievement/tribute Oscar.

Still, we're eons away from Oscar and anything goes. But the potential is there, undeniable, even if pending on so many factors, so far.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

Almodóvar is the only thing that connects Spain with the modern times.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKika

Pedro Almodovar puts my ass in the seat!

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

"Spain has always had a tense relationship with their most famous auteur"

Blame Panama


Don't. Everything started much earlier, and if you asked people in the street, only a few would know that story, most people don't in spite of you Pp-C's et al people.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Pedro absolutely deserves the Palme d'Or and a big Oscar success. He's one of the most original directors ever.

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKl

The official Venice Best Actress Prize is the Volpi Cup. Carmen Maura won the Ciak Prize, which is a different award - not the main Actress award, which, as cal roth has pointed out, went elsewhere.

The Lives of Others is as good a film as Pan's Labyrinth, and a worth winner of Best Foreign Language Film 2006. It just felt like a surprise because Pan's Labyrinth had won three Oscars before that envelope was opened. Cate Blanchett, who announced it, was surprised too.

It's really hard to rate Pain and Glory's Oscar chances when it has only just been shown at Cannes!

May 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

It may be 2002 all over again... if Spain doesn't submit "Pain and Glory", expect it to be amplified to a Best Picture / Director / Actor / Supporting Actress / Original Screenplay / Score / Cinematography / Film Editing contender for the win... it could get up to 8 or even 9 nominations (that Production Design...) and who knows. We already know SPC knows how to campaign, and that Pedro knows how to touch the right keys with Hollywood... and how much he would like a Best Director Oscar, and to have Banderas winning...

May 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

I looove the film and was in tears long before it ended. As someone who has hated his latest efforts since Broken embraces, this is a beautiful return to form. Nat, you're in for a treat.

May 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSeisgrados

Jesús -- Are you talking about Goyas or Oscars? There's no way in hell he's getting 9 Oscar nomination for this movie.

May 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarcel

Just ignore the BBC. Most people in the UK do!

May 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobMiles

I think it will do quite well with Oscar. Almodovar is probably the most well-known foreign-language film director in America (excluding international directors who have also made English-language films). Both he and Banderas will have strong narratives for nominations. Wins will certainly be harder, as they are for any foreign-language film, but if the perceived competition underwhelms who knows? One factor could be box office - if it is one of the highest-grossing foreign-language films of the year in America that will help its chances.

May 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

Banderas got nominated to all the TV awards for his atrocius Picasso so anything is possible.

May 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

Marcel - I'm talking Oscars. I don't know if you saw the film, but Pedro is always greedy when promoting for Oscars...the campaigning of Women on the Verge, All about my Mother and Talk to Her were aiming for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and several acting noms, and Pain and Glory being probably his "8 1/2" is superb on technical aspects (score, cinematography, film editing), it's an obvious Screenplay frontrunner (undeniable) and it's probably the best directed film by a legendary director, plus Banderas and Cruz are huge names in Hollywood and Banderas is overdue for a nom. Adding up, pending on competitors, the movie can realistically aspire to nominations in Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing and Score, 8 noms. A second Supporting performer is more a longshot, and production design also, that would be your 9th nom, considering they may overlook the sound.

Goyas are a different animal, they can freely choose to just ignore the film, but Banderas is most likely - finally - winning the Goya in competition.

And I say it again... anyone who knows about art and filmmaking techniques, is going to WOW at the final shot. It's an Oscar-winning shot for Director, Writting and Cinematography, all at once.

May 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

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