Pedro Almodóvar and Antonio Banderas on Milestones, Health Scares and Oscar Buzz at ‘Pain and Glory’ NYFF Premiere

Pedro Almodóvar turned 70 this week, celebrating the milestone at the New York Film Festival premiere of his latest film “Pain and Glory.”

“I feel at home here. I was born at film festivals. It is a part of me,” the auteur told Variety before the screening of his most personal project to date.

The director presented his 12th NYFF selection in four decades as he opened up about the occasion and the gift of working with his film’s star, Antonio Banderas, saying “We love each other in the best sense.”

The bond that the filmmaker and actor (the pair have collaborated eight times) share is stronger than ever, especially after Banderas suffered a heart attack in 2017. The actor explained that the health scare was a turning point and a “blessing” in both of their lives.

Talking about the opportunity to work again after his time in the hospital he added, “When Pedro called me, he knew that there was a change in me. He said he would love for me to use it for the character; don’t hide it. And I knew exactly what he was talking about. He opened for me the door to see me on the screen in a completely different way. In a metaphorical way, I got the opportunity with this movie to kill Antonio Banderas, the Antonio Banderas that everybody knows.”

Coming off the win for best actor at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, award season buzz for “Pain and Glory” keeps growing. The film is now Spain’s official submission for the international feature film Academy Award.

Telling Variety about the additional present of the country’s recognition of the film, Almodóvar said, “I am very anxious because now I feel that I represent Spain and I’m not just representing myself and my career. I represent my whole country. It’s a big responsibility. I will do everything that is in my heart to be among the nominees. But you never know. You know how this works. This is a mystery since the last movie, but I will work to get it.”