Pedro Almodóvar: Under His Skin

A Film by Alison Chernick


The Legendary Director Peels Back the Layers On His Ideals of Beauty

In a New York hotel, prolific Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar muses upon femininity and beauty in light of his current macabre pulp fiction movie, The Skin I Live In. Acknowledging how his matriarchal upbringing and the advent of 1960s pop culture informed his vision, Almodóvar reveals to filmmaker Alison Chernick his obsession with strong and stunning women such as screen icons Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn, and of course Penélope Cruz, the star of several of his notable films including All About My Mother and Volver. His 19th feature, an audacious contribution to the body horror canon adapted from Thierry Jonquet’s novella Tarantula, sees Almodóvar reunited with Antonio Banderas for the first time in 21 years, with the actor starring as a plastic surgeon who experiments upon his exquisite young captive, Vera (Elena Anaya). “It was deceiving,” Chernick says. “In front of me was this gentle and playful teddy bear-like man, responsible for the madness of this insane revenge horror saga. The film plays with our expectations in a similar fashion to the way our own minds do.”