MADRID – Spanish moviemaker Pedro Almodovar’s latest feature film will be the last in an unplanned trilogy of movies with lead male roles which draw from biographical elements of the well-known director and screenwriter’s life, the production company said in a statement.
“Dolor y Gloria” (Pain and Glory) is the final addition to an unintentional trilogy of movies that also include “Law of Desire” (1987) and “Bad Education” (2004).
“Without intending it ‘Dolor y Gloria’ is the third part of a trilogy that I created spontaneously and that has taken 32 years to come together,” the director said in the movie’s production notes written by him.
All three films have lead male roles who are also movie directors and, across all three of them, desire and cinematographic fiction are the pillars of the narrative, although the blurred lines between reality and fiction manifest differently, Almodovar added.
“Dolor y Gloria,” with Spanish actor and Almodovar regular Antonio Banderas at the helm, is perhaps the most autobiographical of his catalog.
The movie tells the story of a film director who finds himself at a crossroads when ill-health impedes him from continuing his work, something Almodovar experienced a few years ago whilst he was filming “Julieta” (2016).
In the production notes for the movie, Almodovar admits he has plucked elements from his own life as a reference.
Autobiographical elements take on a whole new meaning for this movie in which Almodovar used his own furniture, books and paintings for the set design of the house the protagonist, Salvador Mallo, lives in.
Banderas also sports clothes throughout that have been inspired by the Castilian director’s personal wardrobe.
The narrative unfolds across three different moments in Mallo’s life.
The movie starts with the director’s childhood in a village on the outskirts of the eastern Mediterranean city of Valencia, again mirroring Almodovar’s own life when his parents moved to a village in the 1960s when he was a young child.
The movie then moves to Mallo’s first experience of falling love in the 1980s after moving to the capital, Madrid – something Almodovar also experienced.
Finally, the narrative wraps up in the present with an isolated, depressed Mallo who has retreated from cinema and the world.
“I feel identified with all these periods, I know the places and the feelings the character is experiencing.”
Although, the Spaniard continued, fiction and reality intermingle.
“As a starting point I took myself as a reference, but once you start writing fiction establishes it’s rules and it becomes independent from the original idea, something that has always happened to me when dealing with real references,” Almodovar added.
The cast includes Asier Etxeandia and Leonardo Sbaraglia playing Mallo in different periods of his life.
Penelope Cruz and Julieta Serrano interpret Mallo’s mother.
Nora Navas, sporting a blond wig, plays the role of the moviemaker’s assistant.
A highlight of the feature, which is set to premiere in 2019, sees singer Rosalia sing a “copla” (ballad) with Cruz whilst they wash clothes in a river.