By Javier Romualdo
Los Angeles, Nov 11 (EFE).- Just two days after the United States reopened its borders for non-essential travel from 33 countries, legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodovar returned to Hollywood to promote his most recent film, “Madres Paralelas” (Parallel Mothers), and get a first-hand look at the immersive, multichannel media installation he created for the recently inaugurated Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
“It’s a strange sensation. For the first time, I felt like I was a part of popular culture. Being inside a museum of this size,” the 72-year-old filmmaker told Efe Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Almodovar had been selected to design a space dedicated to his filmography at the imposing, $482 million Academy Museum, which opened its doors to the public in September.
The director opted for a layout of 12 video screens – titled Noir, The Shrinking Lover, Bodies, Religious Education, Guilt and Pain, Musicals, Comedy, Bergman and Melodrama, Sex and Desire, Mothers, Cafe Muller and Family – that he said enter into “dialogue with one another.”
Those different channels are spread out against a backdrop of azure-blue walls and flooring and, according to the museum’s website, offer a “poetic distillation of a crucial theme or iconic scene from his body of work.”
That installation is the largest set aside for any director at the 28,000 square meter (300,000 square foot) museum complex designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Renzo Piano.
“They were very generous with me. I was very impressed,” Almodovar said.
And the tributes don’t end there.
In April 2022, the Academy will publish a book on the Spanish director’s filmography that will include essays by his brother and producer, Agustin Almodovar, and Oscar-winning British actress Tilda Swinton, who starred in a 2020 Spanish-American short drama film – “The Human Voice” – that was written and directed by Pedro Almodovar.
Raul Guzman, one of the museum’s curators, said Hollywood’s fascination with Almodovar remains as strong as it was in the late 1980s, when he received his first best foreign language film Oscar nomination for “Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios” (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown).
“Few filmmakers have their name used as an adjective,” Guzman remarked.
Proof of Almodovar’s stature is that the 22nd feature film of his career, the 2021 drama “Parallel Mothers,” is considered a sure-fire contender in the best director and best actress (Penelope Cruz) categories even though it was not selected as the Spanish entry for the Best International Feature Film at the upcoming 94th Academy Awards.
And after the South Korean black comedy thriller “Parasite” took home best picture in 2020, the Spanish director’s latest may even be in contention for the Oscars’ most prestigious award.
“Parallel Mothers,” which has been screened at several film festivals worldwide and will be shown on Saturday at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles, will have a limited release in New York and Los Angeles during the height of the Oscar season in late December, Almodovar noted.
“But I’m not thinking about that. I just want the film to do well,” the director told Efe. “The reviews so far are 100 percent positive and very encouraging.” EFE