Salute to Almodovar


Arts -- Sun Guide 2006

September 08, 2006|By MICHAEL SRAGOW

"Viva Pedro!" goes the title of a traveling salute to adult terrible Pedro Almodovar, and audiences around the globe have joined in the cheer. Almodovar has said, "If I lived like my characters, I would have been dead before I made 16 films." By now, he's made nearly a score of them.

He hit his stride with Matador (1986), a marvelous black farce about a retired bullfighter with a dazzlingly attractive tutee - Antonio Banderas! - and topped that with Law of Desire (1987), a crazy comedy of gay longing with Banderas (again) and Carmen Maura, Almodovar's early muse. His 1988 sex-war comedy, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, also with Banderas and Maura, is still fresh: It even has a subplot about a Shiite terrorist.

After that peak, Almodovar progressed into crime-cum-sob stories that play similar outre tales relatively straight. In Talk to Her (2002), for example, he made a powerhouse male weepie about two men's obsessions with a couple of comatose women. The sexy imp of world-class moviemakers has become a master of both flowery and lurid melodrama.

"Viva Pedro!" begins Sept. 29 at the Charles Theatre, 1711 N. Charles St. Information: 410-727-3456 or The series is also coming Sept. 15 through Oct. 20 to the AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Information: 301-495-6720 or

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