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Sony Celebrates Almodovar

25 Nov, 2006 By: Angelique Flores

With director Pedro Almod?var's most recent film, Volver, already in theaters, Sony is reviving more of the director's films theatrically before the release of a new Almod?var DVD boxed set.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will bow “Viva Pedro: The Pedro Almod?var Collection” Jan. 30 (prebook Dec. 28) at $117.95.

In the meantime, fans can catch some of the films included in the set in theaters. Beginning this past summer, Sony Pictures Classics reissued some of the films to run in about 25 cities through the end of December, right before the boxed set arrives.

“Some recent fans never have had a chance to see them on the big screen,” said Marc Rashba, Sony's VP of catalog marketing.

While re-releasing films theatrically to promote a DVD release isn't entirely uncommon, this time, he said, the strategy was unique for a DVD set.

“I don't think we've done a festival specific to a director in anticipation of a boxed set,” Rashba said.

The nine-disc set will include eight films from the Spanish director and screenwriter: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), starring Carmen Maura and Antonio Banderas; The Flower of My Secret (1995), a hip romantic comedy; Live Flesh (1997), starring Javier Bardem (The Sea Inside) and Penelope Cruz; All About My Mother (1999), the Oscar winner for best foreign-language film, with Cecilia Roth (“Epitafios”) and Cruz; Talk to Her (2002), the Oscar winner for best original screenplay, starring Leonor Watling (Cr?nicas); Bad Education (2004), starring Gael Garc?a Bernal; and the new-to-DVD titles — both starring Maura and Banderas — the dark comedy Matador (1986) and Law of Desire (1999), which features Banderas' controversial gay kiss.

All the films are in Spanish with English subtitles, and some of the older films have been remastered for the set.

While other boxed sets featuring Almod?var's films have been released in the past, this set's bonus disc about the Spanish director makes it the most comprehensive yet, Rashba said.

The additional disc has three featurettes: “Deconstructing Pedro,” “Experiencing Amod?var” and “Viva Pedro.”

“We've never had a chance to tell his story, of Pedro himself,” Rashba said. “This really looks at it as a retrospective, and the impact of his movies collectively. The featurettes are less about the films and more about the director himself.”

Also included in the package are postcards of the original theatrical poster art, which are always unique and colorful for Almod?var's films, Rashba said.

Almod?var has been making films since the 1970s and is one of the most influential directors in Spain. With his offbeat storytelling style, where things aren't always as they might seem, he often portrays strong women, unusual relationships and improbable circumstances.

“He's got a unique eye for filmmaking and a colorful way of taking on a story,” Rashba said.

Many of his films have garnered or been nominated for numerous awards — from Oscars and Golden Globes to Goyas and Ariels — as well as spotlighted at prestigious film festivals.

“In his own time, he's certainly become an icon of filmmaking,” Rashba said.

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