Writer/director Pedro Almodóvar wears his heart on his sleeve. That—along with a good sense of humor—is probably my favorite quality in a filmmaker. Which explains why I love Almodóvar so much: He brings both honesty and dark comedy, in full force, to all his films. He consistently explores themes of sexual deviance, depression, obsession, drugs, and religion, and ties them all up in a brilliant little bow.
The flow of this Viva Pedro! film fest at Cinema 21 is basically perfect—so if you can spare the time, I'd recommend catching each of the four double features. (All the better to prep for Almodóvar's latest, Volver, which opens December 22.) On Friday, the fest launches with two of Almodóvar's most well-loved and accessible films about people under stress: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and All About My Mother.
Starting Tuesday, check out one of Pedro's most dramatic films, Talk to Her, about two women in comas and the men who love them. Prepare to feel sad, happy, and extremely creeped out. Alongside Talk to Her is The Flower of My Secret, about an unsatisfied romance novelist. Both are great.
Next Friday, the 15th, sees two of Pedro's less-lauded films from the '80s, Matador and Law of Desire, which are filled with religious and sexual confusion, jealousy, and violence. But if you're short on time this month, absolutely don't miss the end of the fest, when Live Flesh screens. This is one of the best movies of all time, about a young, smoking hot guy's relentless obsession with a beautiful woman.
Speaking of obsessed, Almodóvar has made at least one movie every two years since 1974. It's obvious he has a lot of demons to wrestle with, ideas to work out, and creative vision to spew—and with Viva Pedro!'s new 35mm prints of all these films, he's about to spew that vision all over Portland.