Pain and Glory, dir. Pedro Almodóvar, Spain 2019, 113 min., Spanish with English subtitles
Shadowing Pedro Almodóvar’s own biography, the Spanish auteur’s latest feature depicts the life of Salvador Mallo, a film director facing physical decline as he nostalgically reflects on his past. Through a series of episodic narratives – from his childhood in the 60s, when he emigrated with his parents to a village in Valencia, to his first love in 1980s Madrid, to his discovery of cinema – the figure of Mallo emerges as a complex character attempting to find salvation through recounting his formative experiences.
With central performances from Almodóvar regulars including Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz and an original score composed by Alberto Iglesias (Volver, The Skin I Live In, Julieta), Pain and Glory is a metafictional reflection on art, memory, love and family.