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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Pain and Glory

by writer/director Pedro Almodóvar

Cinema is probably the most important experience of my life. The characters in my films always go to the movies, talk about cinema, and explain themselves through films they’ve seen. In the case of Pain and Glory, they also make films for a living.

My life has indirectly found its way into every picture I’ve made, but Pain and Glory is the most representative of me. I have deposited in it everything that I own: my furniture, my paintings, my clothes, my intimacy, a few ghosts, my childhood memories, and my need to carry on making films as my only way of life.

It isn’t an autobiographical film as such, everything is mixed up with fiction. The character nailed by Antonio Banderas is an extension of myself. From the time I started writing the script (and remembering Fellini had already made a monumental film about a director going through a crisis), I considered Antonio to be my rightful Mastroianni. This movie would not have been possible without his delicate, emotional and intense performance. He never tried to imitate me, but many people have told me that there’s a moment in which they no longer see Antonio, but myself. I believe that this is the most flattering thing that one can say about the extraordinary performance of my friend Antonio.

This film is about many things, including my love for cinema. I discovered cinema at open air screenings during the summer in my hometown. Films were projected onto a whitewashed wall in the main square, and we boys would take a pee by both sides of the wall when we felt like urinating. That’s why the films from my early years smell of wee, of jasmine and of a summer breeze. My wish is that the white screen never disappears from our lives.

I hope Pain and Glory pleases you, moves you, and keeps you company for many days to come.


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