Magazine article Variety

An Old Master Shows Some New Restraint

Magazine article Variety

An Old Master Shows Some New Restraint

Article excerpt

As the world changes, so does Almodóvar

edro Almodóvar sits in a swank hotel restaurant in Midtown Manhattan decked out in a blazing red sweater, looking a little stunned by the December chill. It's an appropriate fashion choice for the Spanish auteur behind "All About My Mother" "Talk to Her" and "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" to name just a few. No filmmaker has ever gotten more leverage from a color: Red, at its biggest, most sensual, and blistering, appears frequently in Almodóvar's films, popping up in carpets, drapery, couches, dresses, and, of course, blood. At one time, such brashness was a reflection of his status as the enfant terrible of foreign-language cinema.

But Almodóvar is older now. His helmet of spiky hair is nearly completely gray. His most recent effort, "Julieta" is also one of his more restrained works, adapting a series of Alice Munro stories that dramatize the disintegration of a relationship between a mother and daughter. Armed with a cup of coffee to fight the cold, the filmmaker discusses what drew him to "Julieta," as well as politics, sex, and his dissatisfaction with modern movies.

Do you ever watch your movies after they're finished?

I cannot be a spectator of my own work. In general, things that are related to my own life I'm not that interested in.

What do you think about the state of Hollywood movies?

It's very difficult for me to go to the theater and find movies that I love - much more difficult than before. Maybe I'm getting old. Either that or I find it more difficult for a story to surprise me. I think that film right now is worse than it used to be. For example, I don't think that you see the kinds of films you saw in the '60s or the '70s.

I have no real interest in films that have to do with superheroes and sequels, prequels, reboots - all this kind of business. Ironically, on some level, the fact that movies are so technically proficient works against them. I used to be interested in the adventure film or any chase film before the effects were so perfect. The digital, the synthetic aspect of the image, has taken some of that away from me. There was a sense of danger that was exciting.

Did you see "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"?

No. The last adventure film I liked a lot was Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

What movies have you enjoyed recently? …

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