A Pedro Almodóvar film from 2019 about an ageing director in retreat from his profession, facing ill health, depression and the decline of his powers, titled Dolor y Gloria (Pain And Glory) stars Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz.
At the Cannes Film Festival, Banderas won the award for Best Actor and Alberto Iglesias won the award for Best Score. It’s Almodóvar’s 21st movie (maybe it should be called (20 ½).
Really, is there a current filmmaker with a more vivid graphic sensibility than the openly gay Almodóvar? His distinctive films are filled with bold colors and impeccable set design, often looking like cartoons or magazine spreads come to life. His films are marked by his creative personnel, complex narratives, melodrama, pop culture, popular songs, and irreverent humor.
The posters for his films pay homage to his aesthetic, from his scrappy underground days to his more polished later years.
Today’s film fans probably think of Almodóvar as the most establishment of arthouse directors: celebrated by the Cannes and New York Film Festival, winner of two Academy Awards, five BAFTAs and two Golden Globes. Yet there was a time when Almodóvar was one of the most transgressive of European filmmakers, making provocative silent Super 8 shorts to be shown at bars and parties during Spain’s hedonistic, late-1970s, post-Franco cultural renaissance.
He surrounds himself with visual artists and his posters have been the result of notable collaborations including underground comic artist Ceesepe (Carlos Sánchez Pérez), fellow filmmaker and artist Ivan Zulueta (1943-2009) who met Almodóvar working on one of his first short films. One of his best posters, a Cocteau-inspired illustration for Matador (1986) was by artist and pop star Carlos Berlanga (1959-2002).
The most important design collaboration of Almodóvar’s career has been with the Argentine designer Juan Gatti who created some of Almodóvar’s most distinctive posters, and also for his gorgeous title sequences, like this one for Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown (1988).
Below are some of the great graphic posters from his long career: