Fabricating Almodóvar: Pain & Glory

The films of Pedro Almodóvar are full of references to the creative process itself through a series of characters that inhabit different aspects of his work as an artist. This is particularly relevant in his trilogy of films—Law of Desire (1987), Bad Education(2004), and Pain and Glory (2019)—which directly address the relationship between a filmmaker’s creative crisis, his emotional state, and the various fluctuations in his sexual satisfaction, approached from an eminently queer perspective. In numerous ways, Almodóvar molds different screen alter egos that are diverse versions of his own creative persona, crafted through a variety of expressive, aesthetic and narrative strategies.

This work explores the inseparable link between the processes of creation and the queer emotional fabric that anchors the subversive axis of Almodóvar’s characters. It primarily focuses on his later effort, Pain & Glory, which chronicles the physical and mental struggles of an aging filmmaker and establishes a dialogue with Law of Desire (1987) and Bad Education (2004) to account for the evolving conceptualization of authorship at play in Almodóvar’s oeuvre.

The video essay combines excerpts from the three films, in combination with Alberto Iglesias’ soundtrack for Pain & Glory. In addition, I utilize the song “Déjame de recordar”, included in the soundtrack of Law of Desire—a song about a true love that will not return, yet it is indelibly remembered—to illustrate the power of remembering both as a creative mechanism and an emotional safeguard to cope with the undesirable elements of the present.

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  • Almodóvar’s production company is called “El Deseo”—that is, Desire.
  • Reportedly, Almodóvar meticulously recreated his own home in Pain & Glory.


  • Law of Desire (1987)
  • Bad Education (2004)
  • Pain & Glory (2019)