In the frame

Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film Pain and Glory puts the art in arthouse

Pedro Almodóvar with Pain and Glory stars Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas at the open-air premiere Dave Benett

Rain showers during the UK premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s latest film Pain and Glory did not dampen the mood of the open-air screening at London’s Somerset House this month. Celebrities—including the artist Yinka Shonibare and fashion designer Pam Hogg—joined regular punters to watch Almodóvar’s most autobiographical film to date, with Antonio Banderas in a career defining turn as an ageing film director. The main protagonist’s apartment is packed out with paintings that are copies of those in Almodóvar’s own collection, which includes works by the Spanish painters Guillermo Pérez Villalta and Sigfrido Martín Begué. In one scene the Guggenheim even call to ask to borrow some of them. The art, coupled with the film’s music, is “one of the most autobiographical aspects of the film,” Almodóvar says. At the premiere, Banderas—who also collects art and last year told Hola magazine the he lost one of his Picasso’s in his divorce settlement—spoke of his love for open air cinema, while Almodóvar said that his abiding childhood memory of film is one of “wee, of jasmine and summer breeze” after “boys would take a pee” against the whitewashed wall onto which films were projected. The Art Newspaper can safely report that the urinary needs at Somerset House were well catered from with ample toilets.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper, 315 September 2019