All About My Self

Amusing stuff in the Guardian today, where Pedro Almodóvar denounces Paul Julian Smith for blaming him for an absence of Spanish films at UK cinemas. Smith, who is a foremost expert on Almodóvar and Spanish popular culture in general, at least in the English-speaking world, does nothing of the sort. He says quite simply that Almodóvar’s brand is far more attractive to distributors out to make a profit than films by relatively unknown directors. The point being that the rest of Spanish cinema doesn’t get sufficient attention: hardly controversial stuff.

Almodóvar pays characteristic attention to detail in his riposte, with a meditation on the nature of interest and monopoly:

You also say I monopolise international interest. Interest cannot be monopolised. It can be “attracted”, or “generated”. But it cannot be monopolised, because it belongs to the person interested. And we must assume that people are free to take an interest in whatever they see fit. How could I possibly monopolise international interest; through some form of mass hypnosis?

Interestingly, Almodóvar confuses himself with his product. Smith says ‘Ironically, it seems, one super-sized name can capsize a national film industry by monopolising international interest.’ There’s no implication here that Pedro Almódovar himself seeks to dominate the habits of film-goers. But that’s how he interprets it. In fairness to him, the B-movie horror headline ‘The Curse of Almódovar’ doesn’t make any distinctions between the director and the product.

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