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'Skin I Live In' marks the latest in a long line of Banderas-Almodovar collaborations

Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 11:10

Banderas Skin I'm In

(Jose Haro/El Deseo/Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics/MCT)

Antonio Banderas, left, as Doctor Robert Ledgard and Elena Anaya as Vera in Sony Pictures' "The Skin I Live In."

"I owe Pedro more than professional issues. I owe Pedro a way of thinking, a way of understanding life, looking at a life without fear," he said. "He's not only a movie director for me. He's a real friend, almost like a brother and a person that I respect, admire and that profoundly, deeply, I love."

Perhaps the biggest difference between the past and present, Almodovar said, is that the pair no longer spend their off-camera hours indulging in youthful pleasures.Banderas is a confirmed family man who hangs out with his wife, actress Melanie Griffith, and children. The director practices meditation and yoga to limber up after long hours of writing.

"My life is very based in my work. I have to take care of myself," Almodovar said, laughing. "So the life we share in 2011 is, we say, the opposite of what we led in the ‘80s."

Almodovar was pushing Spanish cinema in directions unfamiliar since the heyday of Luis Bunuel, disrupting the status quo with frank depictions of same-sex love, twisted family relationships, bizarre obsessions and sudden outbursts of shocking violence. But not everyone was enamored of the brash young auteur.

"It was enormously difficult to obtain money for a film with these characteristics, with this theme," the director recalled. "We say that we lived during an incredible explosion of liberty, enjoying the new democracy. But nonetheless it was very hard to find money to produce my movies. Nowadays I don't have this difficulty."

Banderas said that working on movies like "Law of Desire" and dealing with the subsequent outrage voiced by critics and clerics over its moral values helped "liberate" him personally from guilt instilled by his Roman Catholic upbringing.

"I owe Pedro more than professional issues. I owe Pedro a way of thinking, a way of understanding life, looking at a life without fear," he said. "He's not only a movie director for me. He's a real friend, almost like a brother and a person that I respect, admire and that profoundly, deeply, I love."

Perhaps the biggest difference between the past and present, Almodovar said, is that the pair no longer spend their off-camera hours indulging in youthful pleasures.Banderas is a confirmed family man who hangs out with his wife, actress Melanie Griffith, and children. The director practices meditation and yoga to limber up after long hours of writing.

"My life is very based in my work. I have to take care of myself," Almodovar said, laughing. "So the life we share in 2011 is, we say, the opposite of what we led in the ‘80s."

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