Pedro Almodóvar to get Golden Lion at Venice Film Fest

Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar poses during a photocall for the film "Dolor Y Gloria (Pain and Glory)" at the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. (AFP Photo)

Veteran filmmaker Pedro Almodovar will be felicitated with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 76th edition of Venice Film Festival.

The award will be presented to the 69-year-old director, best known for films such as "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", "All About My Mother" and more recently "Pain and Glory", during the festival.

"I am very excited and honoured with the gift of this Golden Lion. I have very good memories of the Venice Film Festival. My international debut took place there in 1983 with 'Dark Habits'.

"It was the first time one of my films travelled out of Spain, it was my international baptism and a wonderful experience, as it was my return with 'Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown' in 1988. This Lion is going to become my pet, along with the two cats I live with. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for giving me this award," Almodovar said in a statement.

Festival director Alberto Barbera said Almodovar is not just "the greatest and most influential Spanish director since Bunuel", but he has also offered the "most multifaceted, controversial, and provocative portraits of post-Franco Spain".

"The topics of transgression, desire, and identity are the terrain of choice for his films, which he imbues with corrosive humour and adorns with a visual splendour that confers unusual radiance on the aesthetic camp and pop art to which he explicitly refers.

"Lovesickness, the heartache of abandonment, the contradictions of desire, and the lacerations of depression converge in movies that straddle melodrama and its parody, achieving peaks of emotional authenticity that redeem any potential formal excess. Without forgetting that Almodovar excels, above all, in painting incredibly original female portraits, thanks to an exceptional empathy which allows him to represent their power, emotional richness, and inevitable weaknesses with a rare and touching authenticity," Barbera added.

The decision was made by the Board of the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, based on the recommendation of Barbera.

The 2019 Venice Film Festival will run from August 28 to September 7 this year. 

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