Pedro Almodovar to Receive Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at Venice Film Festival

Pedro Almodovar will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at Venice Film Festival to be held from August 28 to September 7, 2019. The board of the Biennale di Venezia headed by Paolo Baratta confirmed festival director Alberto Barbera’s proposal, reports Deadline. The Spanish filmmaker’s latest movie ‘Pain and Glory’ was recently premiered in the Competition Section at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie, which features Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia and Penélope Cruz in the lead roles, garnered positive reviews from critics. Banderas won the Best Actor Prize at the festival for his performances as the ageing filmmaker Salvador Mallo, who is reportedly modeled on Almodovar himself.

“I am very excited and honoured with the gift of this Golden Lion,” Almodovar said. “I have very good memories of the Venice Film Festival. My international debut took place there in 1983 with Dark Habits. It was the first time one of my films traveled out of Spain, it was my international baptism and a wonderful experience, as it was my return with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in 1988. This Lion is going to become my pet, along with the two cats I live with. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for giving me this award”.

The director has become the face of Spanish cinema with his delicate and intimate portrayals of vulnerable people who commit mistakes, become jealous, and fall in love helplessly. The characters with a lust for life have become an Almodovar stamp over the years. The director, who has 21 movies to his credit, made his international debut in 1983 with the black comedy ‘Dark Habits’ at Venice.

“Almodóvar isn’t only the greatest and most influential Spanish director since Buñuel, he is a filmmaker who has offered us the most multifaceted, controversial, and provocative portraits of post-Franco Spain,” said festival director Alberto Barbera. “The topics of transgression, desire, and identity are the terrain of choice for his films, which he imbues with corrosive humor and adorns with a visual splendor that confers unusual radiance on the aesthetic camp and pop art to which he explicitly refers. Lovesickness, the heartache of abandonment, the contradictions of desire, and the lacerations of depression converge in movies that straddle melodrama and its parody, achieving peaks of emotional authenticity that redeem any potential formal excess.”

Almodovar won two Academy Awards, five British Academy Film Awards and two Golden Globes, among others. Venice Film Festival announced their first Lifetime Achievement to Oscar-winning actress Julie Andrews in March, as per the festival tradition of awarding Lifetime Achievement prizes to an actor and a director.

Cover Image Courtesy: Nico Bustos