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In competition: "Broken Embraces" by Almodóvar

About the film:
The Cannes Festival Official Selection is glad to welcome Pedro Almodóvar to the Competition with Broken Embraces. After Volver (Best Screenplay, in 2006) and All About my Mother (Best Director, 1999), the filmmaking Spaniard is returning with a new homage to the seventh art.

"I feel it's the first time I've made such an express declaration of love to cinema," Almodóvar says. "Not with a specific sequence, but with a whole film. To cinema, its materials, to the people who give all they've got around the spotlights, to the actors, editors, narrators, those who write, to the screens which show the images of intrigues and emotions. To films as they were made at the moment they were made. To something that, although you can make a living from it, is not only a profession but also an irrational passion."

Mateo Blanco's tumultuous artistic life is the vessel for Almodóvar's passion for cinema. The hero lives, loves, and writes in darkness. Fourteen years earlier, in a traumatic car crash on the island of Lanzarote, he lost not only his eyesight but also Lena, the woman he loved. In the present, circumstances conspire to stir up distant memories

Press conference:
Reporters from the international press were able to meet the entire crew of the feature Broken Embraces. Voluble as ever, director Pedro Almodóvar was accompanied by cast members Penélope Cruz, Blanca Portillo, José Luis Gómez, Lluis Homar, Tamar Novas, and Rubén Ochandiano, as well as producer Augustin Almodóvar. Excerpts follow.

Pedro Almodóvar on how he directs actors:
"First of all, the way in which I work with the actors depends on who the actor is. I believe that someone who fails to understand the human dimension, who can't communicate well, could never be a good director. The actors I work with allow me to touch on very intimate topics, things that may be very painful. They enable me to delve into such things, and I'm very fortunate, because all the actors with whom I work are very generous with me. Sometimes, in the case of some actors, I fill them in on the way I view the character, and the part. And, on other occasions, I say nothing. I want them to play the scene instinctively, based on intuition. Even though I am actually quite shy, if necessary, I play all the parts on the set. In one of the films I shot some time ago, I even performed cunnilingus on an actress to show the actor how he was supposed to play the part. Above all, I have tremendous respect for actors."

Penélope Cruz on the Broken Embraces story:
"Everything surprised me, from the first to last lines of the script. I really think it's one of the best scripts he's ever written, if not the best. Undoubtedly, it is the most complex, the most daring, the most courageous. I thought, I'm really lucky that Pedro is trusting me again, giving me this character who is just wonderful, but also completely different from any character I've played before."

Penélope Cruz on the complexity of her part:
"The comedy side of the film in the film, "Girls with Suitcases," wasn't that easy. It was more difficult than the dramatic part. The comedy part is trickier, much more precise, in Pedro's mind. Playing the same scene twice, well once and badly the second time, is very tricky. I must say, I was a little stressed out about it. Sometimes, in the same day, I had to go from one character to another. It was all a little bit confused. It reminded me of a roller coaster. But we rehearsed and did tests for three months before we started shooting, and that was a big help."

Pedro Almodóvar on the number of women in his films:
"The reason why there are a lot of female characters in my films is because, like most children who grew up at the end of the 1950s, I was raised by women. My mother took me everywhere with her. I was surrounded by women until I was 8 or 9. And seeing all of these women, I had the experiences I later used in my films. I lived entirely surrounded by women, and I'm talking about strong women! I don't know how they managed, but despite the poverty after the war, they managed to feed us every day. Our country, Spain, was really marked by this generation of women. We owe our survival to them. Male characters tend to intimidate me a little. But things are changing... "

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