For the better part of a century, cities like New York, Paris, and Los Angeles have reigned supreme as the symbolic capitals of our global collective consciousness. Their parks, avenues, and monuments are instantly recognizable for anyone with access to a movie theater or TV screen thanks to the vision of filmmakers like Woody Allen, Jean-Luc Godard, and Quentin Tarantino. But there are a few cities across the world that come in a close second to these recurring icons of big-screen representation – and largely due to the prolific output of Spain’s own cinematic master, Pedro Almodóvar, Madrid is doubtless one of them.
Of course, Almodóvar isn’t himself a native of the Castilian capital, but rather a small and eminently ordinary town in the central region of La Mancha known as Calzada de Calatrava. At age 18, the budding artist made a decision that any restless creative mind would make in his position, and left home for Madrid against his parents wishes. There, Almodóvar quickly staked out his place in the history of the capital city as part of the countercultural Movida Madrileña, which upended the city’s underground scene following the death of dictator Francisco Franco.
Since then, Almodóvar has made Spain’s largest city the backdrop for some of his most recognizable master works, and his intimate familiarity with Madrid’s plazas, parkways, and back-alleys has given films like Todo sobre mi madre and ¡Átame! an unmistakably authentic sense of place. In fact, Madrid’s cityscape is so important to the master’s 20-strong filmography, that writer and photographer Carlos Pina was recently inspired to revisit some of the most iconic locations from Almodóvar’s back catalogue.
Using 13 stills from some of the director’s most-beloved films, Pina does an enviable job of matching the camera’s original angle and lighting to the same setting in contemporary Madrid, revealing a city that in many ways has remained remarkably constant despite the transformations of the last three decades. As Pina states in a brief introduction to the photos: “Spain’s capital is [Almodóvar’s] paradise and his nemesis, from which he draws his light and where he sketches out his darkest scenes. From the gloomiest nights… to observations of the city’s comings and goings from its balconies, Almodóvar’s films have always incorporated Madrid as a protagonist rather than a mere papier mâché decoration.”
Check them out below.
[h/t: El Huffington Post] All photos by Carlos Pina.