Almodóvar: Man of La Mancha

The Age  Melbourne, 1994, 2,100 words; adapted extracts  


Two points, though, he has clear. One, he wants to keep his budgets low so he doesn’t become shackled by commercial demands.... Two, heeding a piece of advice Billy Wilder gave him, he doesn't want to go to Hollywood.

Almodóvar / ‘Another dream is to make a period film.... The small details of everyday life of people who lived in another era are so difficult to do well.’

As we walk down to Madrid's cathedral-like bullring for a photograph, Almodóvar explains that he he has had a bad night's sleep because he's kicking smoking. But he speed-talks away about Madrid's traffic jams, London's terraced housing and so on. Waiters, schoolkids, shoppers and roadworkers turn their heads as he passes and, as soon as he stands still for more than five seconds, they move in. He tweaks his hair up and grabs a pen to sign an autograph.

"Sometimes I feel like Antonio Banderas's character in Atame," he says, "just struggling to be a regular boy but knowing I'll never make it." He grins ruefully, gestures as if he's weighing up the odds and stares at me briefly, more seriously. "Well, the truth is, maybe I don't really try that hard."

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