All About Almodóvar

  • Film
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Sat, March 04 —
    Thu, April 27, 2017
All About Almodóvar

Pedro Almodóvar is the most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel, and AFI Silver presents a thorough survey of his feature films.

The iconoclastic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar may have made his reputation as an enfant terrible, but his contributions to world cinema –20 feature films; Oscars®, Golden Globes, Goyas, Donatellos and César awards; a career retrospective at MoMA– now place him in the category of grand master.

His early films scandalized and delighted audiences with their hyperbolic scenarios and sardonic comedy –full of risqué sexual behavior, riotous color, profane passions and flamboyant fashions. His later work features more serious-minded melodrama and truly transgressive thrillers, with full-blooded characters, impressively intricate plotting and sincere emotionalism.

As Almodóvar continues to grow as an artist, his work takes its rightful place among the greats of world cinema. Following wide acclaim for his latest masterpiece Julieta, AFI Silver presents a thorough survey of Almodóvar’s feature films.

Pepi, Luci Bom (Pepi, Luci, Bom y las Chicas del Montón)

  • On Saturday, March 4 at 10 pm.
  • On Tuesday, March 7 at 9:05 pm.
  • On Wednesday, March 8 at 9:05pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1980, 82 min. Rated NR.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Pedro Almodóvar’s first feature explores life in Madrid during Spain’s infamous Movida Madrileña, the exuberant post-Franco counter-cultural movement of which Almodóvar himself was a driving force. Highlighting punks, musicians, wild parties, drugs, empowered women and lots of sex, Almodóvar crafts a crazy and daring comedy that epitomizes the barrier-breaking thirst of a taboo-ridden society experiencing the resurgence of democracy and its corresponding freedoms.

Labyrinth of Passion (Laberinto de Pasiones)

  • On Tuesday, March 7 at 7 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1982, 100 min. Rated NR.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

A colorful cast of characters lights up this hilarious tale overflowing with cheesy dramatic irony. Cornily named nymphomaniac Sexilia (Cecilia Roth) falls for Riza (Imanol Arias), the gay son of the Emperor of Tiran (a fictional Middle Eastern state). Sexilia’s psychoanalyst, Susana, has the hots for Sexilia’s father, who unfortunately is a sex-averse gynecologist. Among his patients is Princess Toraya, ex-wife of the Emperor of Tiran, who is dead-set on being impregnated by her stepson Riza. A chain of twisted relationships makes this outlandish film, Pedro Almodóvar’s second feature, a continuation of his cathartic release following the oppressive reign of Franco. (Note courtesy of MoMA.)

Dark Habits (Entre Tinieblas)

  • On Monday, March 13 at 9:20 pm.
  • On Wednesday, March 15 at 9:20 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1983, 114 min. Rated NR.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Following her lover’s fatal drug overdose, bolero singer and drug addict Yolanda (Cristina Sánchez Pascual) seeks refuge in the Convent of Humble Redeemers, an enclosure dedicated to the rescue of wayward women with a past in drugs, prostitution and murder. No redemption is in sight as this haphazardly run convent turns out to house a kitsch collection of vices and sins involving heroin, LSD, a tiger and erotic books. Frequent visits by old lovers and police officers also turn this house of worship into an ultimate farce. (Note courtesy of MoMA.)

What have I done to deserve this? (¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?)

  • On Tuesday, March 14 at 9:20 pm.
  • On Thursday, March 16 at 9:20 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1984, 101 min. Rated NR.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles

Overworked Gloria (Carmen Maura) takes multiple cleaning jobs to make ends meet. Her unforgiving life is inhabited by a cast of eccentric characters: an abusive taxi-driver husband who schemes to forge Hitler’s handwriting, a drug-dealing teenage son who is the actual forger, an unappreciative mother-in-law who hides her sweets and a prostitute neighbor who pays Gloria to sit in on sex acts she performs with exhibitionist customers. In this absurd and oppressive environment, what is a woman like Gloria to do –in Almodóvarian fashion? Drugs, murder, sex and selling off a younger son to a pedophile dentist helped make this tragicomedy the auteur’s first international success. (Note courtesy of MoMA.)


  • On Tuesday, March 21 at 7 pm.
  • On Wednesday, March 22 at 9:25 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1986, 110 minutes. Rated NC-17.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Diego (Nacho Martínez) is a former star bullfighter forced into early retirement after being gored by a bull. Maria (Assumpta Serna) is a femme fatale lawyer dressed to kill in androgynous business suits. A shared obsession with blood and murder brings the two into an alliance. Enter Ángel (Antonio Banderas), Diego’s bullfighting student, who is, ironically, scared of blood. After an unsuccessful rape attempt, Ángel turns himself in to the police and confesses to it, as well as to multiple murders he did not commit. Mysteries, killer instinct, religion and sexual desires collide in this dark comedy. (Note courtesy of MoMA.)

Law of Desire (La ley del Deseo)

  • On Tuesday, March 21 at 9:20 pm.
  • On Thursday, March 23 at 9:20 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1987, 100 min. Rated NC-17.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

In this surreal psycho-thriller, Antonio (Antonio Banderas) is driven to extremes of passion after viewing one of soft-core auteur Pablo’s (Eusebio Poncelas) films. The pair embark on an affair, but Antonio soon becomes obsessive, kicking off a chain of entanglements steeped in desire, jealousy and deceit. Pedro Almodóvar’s regular Carmen Maura plays Pablo’s transsexual sister, whose ex-lover’s daughter is kidnapped by Antonio to blackmail the director into one last dread-filled assignation. Law of Desire is a pitch-black, barking-mad but surprisingly moving melodrama from Almodóvar’s enfant terrible years.

Women in the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios)

  • On Saturday, March 25 at 7:30 pm.
  • On Wednesday, March 29 at 9:30 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1988, 90 min. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

This absurdist comedy, a landmark film for Pedro Almodóvar, was a worldwide hit, winning multiple Goya Awards and an Oscar® nomination. Dumped by her lover, soap actress Pepa (Carmen Maura) is on a mission to track him down and deliver a message. Along the way, she’s distracted by her ditsy friend Candela (María Barranco), who has recently discovered her boyfriend is a terrorist; her ex-lover’s son Carlos (Antonio Banderas), who wants to sublease Pepa’s apartment; and his crazy mom (Julieta Serrano), out of the asylum and ready for revenge. Not to mention that Pepa also needs to find the right pair of shoes in which to confront her ex.

High Heels (Tacones Lejanos)

  • On Sunday, March 26 at 8:45 pm.
  • On Thursday, March 30 at 9:30 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1991, 113 min. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

This colorful blend of kinky sex, melodrama and murder features Victoria Abril as Rebecca, a news anchorwoman whose life turns upside down when her estranged movie-star/singer mother, Becky (Marisa Paredes), returns after 15 years to discover Rebecca married to one of her old flames. When Rebecca’s husband turns up murdered, she confesses in a live telecast. But is she covering for her mother? A great musical jail sequence and Rebecca’s tryst with a mother-impersonating drag queen add a few more turns to Pedro Almodóvar’s twist-laden gem.

Tie me up! Tie me down! (¡Átame!)

  • On Thursday, March 30 at 7:20 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1990, 101 min. Rated NC-17.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

In one of Pedro Almodóvar’s most risqué comedies, a newly released mental patient (Antonio Banderas) stalks and kidnaps the object of his obsession –former porn star Marina (Victoria Abril)– and then holds her captive until she falls in love with him, in a bizarre case study of Stockholm syndrome. Punctuated by a tense Ennio Morricone musical score, the film remains controversial more for its sadomasochistic undertones and the victimization of women than for its graphic nudity and passionate sex scenes.


  • On Friday, March 31 at 9:40 pm.
  • On Wednesday, April 5 at 9:20 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1993, 115 min. Rated NR.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

This is the type of comedy that only Pedro Almodóvar could make –a daring farce which takes on motherhood, serial killers, reality television, suicide and media sensationalism. The convoluted plot: Ramón (Alex Casanova) is an obsessive narcoleptic engaged to makeup artist Kika (Verónica Forqué) but secretly in love with his stepfather, Nicholas (an American writer played by Peter Coyote). Meanwhile, Casanova’s ex, Andrea Scarface (Victoria Abril), the host of Spain’s Most Violent Home Videos, witnesses a crime committed against Kika, and will do anything to catch it on camera.

The Flower of my Secret (La Flor de mi Secreto)

  • On Saturday, April 1, at 12:45 pm.
  • On Monday, April 3, at 7 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1995, 107 minutes. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

For years, Leo has been writing bestselling romantic novels (under the pseudonym Amanda Gris), but with her personal life in shambles, she finds it impossible to produce such sunny material. Unable to accept that her troubled marriage to Paco is over, Leo finds herself creatively and emotionally blocked. She finds little consolation from her mother and sister Rosa, who are so busy bickering with each other that they don’t notice Leo’s distress, and her best friend Betty, a psychologist who is secretly having an affair with Paco. One bright point is a new friendship with Angel, cultural editor of the daily paper El País, who unknowingly hires her to write an attack on her nom de plume, Amanda Gris.

Live Flesh (Carne Trémula)

  • On Tuesday, April 4 at 7 pm.
  • On Thursday, April 6 at 7 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 1997, 103 min. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Pedro Almodóvar’s noirish tale of mad love, jealousy and revenge, adapted from a Ruth Rendell thriller, opens with a prostitute (Penélope Cruz) giving birth to a baby boy aboard a Madrid bus on Christmas Day, 1970. Years later, her son Víctor (Liberto Rabal), now a drug dealer, plots his revenge against the man who stole his junkie girlfriend (Francesca Neri) –ex-cop and former basketball star David (Javier Bardem), a man left paralyzed by a shot fired from Víctor’s gun.

Talk to Her (Hable con Ella)

  • On Friday, April 7 at 7 pm.
  • On Monday, April 10 at 7:15 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 2002, 112 min. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Two men forge a relationship as they use the intricacies of the spoken word –however improbably– to communicate with the comatose women they love. Nurse Benigno Martín (Javier Cámara) talks to felled ballerina Alicia (Leonor Watling), while journalist Marco Zuluaga (Darío Grandinetti) confides in gored bullfighter Lydia González (Rosario Flores). As the stories of all four lives crisscross between past and present, Pedro Almodóvar weaves a touching and highly original tale, for which he won an Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay.

All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre)

  • On Sunday, April 9 at 7 pm.
  • On Tuesday, April 11, at 7:15 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 2000, 101minutes. Rated R.
  • In Spanish and Catalán with English subtitles.

In Pedro Almodóvar’s Oscar®-winning homage to women –and all men who want to become women– single mother Manuela (Cecilia Roth) watches her only son die on his 17th birthday while running to get a stage actress’ autograph. As the heart-broken mother embarks on her quest to find the boy’s transsexual father, she befriends a richly diverse assortment of women, including the actress her son died pursuing (Marisa Paredes), a transgender prostitute named Lola (Toni Cantó) and a young, pregnant nun (Penélope Cruz).

Bad Education (La Mala Educación)

  • On Friday, April 14 at 7:30 pm.
  • On Saturday, April 15 at 7:45 pm.
  • On Sunday, April 16 at 7:45 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 2004, 106 minutes. Rated NC-17.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Enrique (Fele Martínez) is a young film director. Actor Ignacio (Gael García Bernal) turns up looking for work and identifies himself as a childhood friend. Enrique doesn’t recognize the man, but his reaction to the name Ignacio signals a deeply intertwined past. Ignacio has written a story and asks Enrique to make it into a film –and cast him in the lead. The story is based on their time at Catholic boarding school, where they fell in love but were pulled apart by Father Manolo (Daniel Giménez Cacho). Moving between past and present, Bad Education is a film noir-melodrama hybrid layered with shadowy pasts and unexpected twists. (Note courtesy of MoMA.)


  • On Saturday, April 15 at 5:15 pm.
  • On Sunday, April 16 at 8 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 2006, 121 min. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) and Sole (Lola Dueñas) are sisters in a working-class neighborhood south of Madrid, whose parents died a few years prior in a tragic fire. One day, their dead mother Irene (Carmen Maura) returns as a ghost to resolve issues with Raimunda, who is busy dealing with her husband’s death and calming her daughter. Mysteries unfold in this story filled with death, incest, adultery, murder, fear and humor. The ensemble cast of six female actors jointly won the Best Actress award at Cannes, and Cruz became the first Spaniard to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar®. (Note courtesy of MoMA.)

Broken Embraces (Los Abrazo Rotos)

  • On Sunday, April 16 at 5:20 pm.
  • On Tuesday, April 18 at 7:15 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 2009, 101 minutes. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

News of the death of powerful Madrilenian businessman Ernesto Martel (José Luis Gómez) forces Harry Caine (Lluís Homar), a blind man who was once a filmmaker, to confront his tragic past. Lena (Penélope Cruz) was the star of Caine’s last feature, Girls and Suitcases, with a plot similar to Pedro Almodóvar’s Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown. Although she was Martel’s girlfriend at the time, the director and actress fell in love during filming. The film-within-a-film, combining multiple genres, brings together love, obsession, voyeurism and melancholy in a moving meditation on filmmaking and cinema. (Note courtesy of MoMA.)

The Skin I live in (La Piel que Habito)

  • On Saturday, April 22 at 10 pm.
  • On Tuesday, April 25 at 9:05 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 2011, 120 min. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) turns his mansion into an underground operating room where he unscrupulously seeks to create a synthetic skin that could have saved his deceased wife, who was badly burned in an accident. Vera (Elena Anaya), with a shocking past to be revealed later, is Ledgard’s involuntary specimen and captive human sculpture. The film reunites Pedro Almódovar with Banderas for the first time since Tie Me Up! Tie me Down! (1990), which also dealt with a captor and his captive. The Skin I live in is a psychological thriller and horror story of unmatched cruelty and madness. (Note courtesy of MoMA.)

I’m so Excited! (Los Amantes Pasajeros)

  • On Sunday, April 23 at 8:45 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 2013, 90 minutes. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Something has gone wrong with the landing gear of a plane en route from Madrid to Mexico City. Is drugging the passengers and entertaining them with music and dance the best way to maintain calm? Find out in this absurd, raucous comedy featuring an outlandish crew and a group of eccentric passengers; the cast includes Javier Cámara, Pepa Charro, Cecilia Roth, Carlos Areces, Lola Dueñas, Raúl Arévalo, Paz Vega, Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz. (Note courtesy of MoMA.)


  • On Tuesday, April 25 at 7 pm.
  • On Thursday, April 27 at 7 pm.
  • Directed by P. Almodóvar, Spain, 2016, 96 minutes. Rated R.
  • In Spanish with English subtitles.

Pedro Almodóvar’s 20th feature film weaves three Alice Munro short stories into a Hitchcockian melodrama about mothers and daughters, passion and grief and the hard changes one undergoes in a lifetime. Emma Suárez stars as Julieta, a Madrid art dealer who has been estranged from her adult daughter for 13 years. Shaken by a chance encounter with her daughter’s childhood friend (Michelle Jenner), Julieta makes a deep dive into her own long-buried past. She recalls how, as a student in the 1980s, her younger self (played by Adriana Ugarte) met the man she would fall passionately in love with, Xoan (Daniel Grao), on an overnight train journey.


Venue map

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910


More information

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center


Presented by AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center



Don't miss events like this one! Subscribe to our bimonthly newsletter to stay informed. Our subscribers also get exclusive access to select online content such as free screenings or concerts.

Sign up for our newsletter