Antonio Banderas as the aging director in a Pedro Almodóvar film that is clearly autobiographical: “Pain and Glory” is a wonderfully self-deprecating story. ARTE is showing the film for the first time on free TV as part of a program focus at the Cannes Film Festival.
suffering and glory
drama • 05/08/2022• 20:15
A film by Almodóvar – so says the opening title of “Pain and Glory”. There is no Pedro, only Almodóvar. The director introduces himself as his brand with his promise. It fits perfectly with this 2019 film, inspired by his life and work, now available for the first time at ARTE. With Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz, the Spaniard puts members of his film family in the lead roles, a selection that is not at all surprising. Somehow a déjà vu effect lingers on you, and yet this successful “Almodóvar” feels different.
The director’s alter ego is called Salvador Mallo (played by Antonio Banderas). He is a man who directed his most famous film 30 years ago and is now in a period of creative stagnation. Salvador is drawn to his large apartment with numerous works of art to keep him company, and in the museum setting it looks like a famous exhibition. Put in a twilight state by painkillers, he spends long hours here. Chronic back pain deprives him of freedom of movement, his brain suffers from headaches; to work again seems impossible – Almodóvar himself has long suffered from migraines and severe back pain.
Even more TV and broadcast tips, interviews with celebrities and catchy contests: to kick off the weekend, we send you our newsletter from the editorial team every Friday.
Soon the past conquers the present. An anniversary of Salvador’s most successful work “Sabor” will take place in the cinema, and he himself will present the film with the then main actor, the bad actor Alberto (Asier Etxeandia). But with the consumption of his heroin, it was he who ensured that the filming became a personal disaster for Salvador.
Reunion with a lost love
The director decides to drag himself into a taxi and see Alberton. Ironically, the two quarrels find each other again when they use heroin together. Alberto even managed to push him to perform a very personal and yet unpublished monodrama about addiction. In it, Salvador, who at the time was taking cocaine, makes a life-long confession and recalls a tragic love affair in the 1980s. The show outside the theater – a long monologue with overwhelmingly intense acting by Asier Etxeandia as Alberto – brings Salvador into contact with his ex-boyfriend Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia), who happens to be in the theater. Finally the movement seems to be coming back into his life.
Fear of freezing in the face of the achievements of the past paralyzes director Salvador in the film. On the other hand, Pedro Almodóvar, who was almost 70 years old when the film was made, seems to be living the exact opposite with his productivity. He always manages to pull the past without repeating it.
“Sadness and glory” makes Salvador dream of his childhood while under the influence of drugs. He recalls how he had to move to a strange village and live in a cave, which leads to magical haunted images in the film. Because his mother (Penélope Cruz) always managed to make the best of the situation. An attractive young mason helped him and Salvador taught him to read and write in return.
Antonio Banderas won the award for best actor in Cannes
However, Salvador himself had to go to seminary because this was the only place where he had the opportunity to continue learning. Loving but strict and at the same time beautiful mother, who washes clothes, goes through everything, makes life happy in the poverty of the 50s. Almodóvar tells about it in a stylized and self-ironic way.
The strongest mother-son scene, however, is provided by Antonio Banderas, who brings his elderly mother to his Madrid apartment as Salvador. How beautiful is the love for her performances in Banderas’s suddenly changed look. He has left “Latin Lover” far behind and approaches with a lot of sensitivity a character full of physical pain and self-doubt – for this he had an actor award in Cannes. Nothing is superfluous, as in the production of Almodóvar, which stays true to the strong images and intense colors of his previous films. The great melodrama, however, is missing – and leaves room for a well-drawn main character and her feelings.
With “Leid und Glorium” Almodóvar invites his audience to an intimate film experience that allows humor but does not mock it, that accurately doses great feelings and brings fiction and truth into a creative state of oblivion. A work that adorns Spanish filmography. ARTE is screening the film as part of a program focus at the 75th Cannes International Film Festival, which runs from May 17th to 28th. A total of 13 films will be screened in this context, including numerous free television premieres such as “Little Joe – Happiness is a Business” (2019) with Cannes Award winner Emily Beecham on Wednesday, May 11, at 8:15 p.m. or “Wating the Limon Tree” (2019) on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at 8:15 p.m. Directly after “Leid und Glorium” ARTE will show at 22:05 the documentary “Antonio Banderas / Pedro Almodóvar” by Nathalie Labarthe. The film deals with the long artistic relationship between the actor and the director.
Suffering and Glory – Die.08.05. – ARTS: 20.15
Source: teleschau – der mediendienst GmbH