white shirt and baseball jacket. he looks fairly restrained. but obviously on confident form. buoyed by an enthusiastic response almost across the board for the new movie. Perhaps that‘s what allowed him to open up in person the way Flower Of My Secret opens up on screen.

‘lt’s true to say I cried a lot when l was making this movie.’ he reveals. dipping from English to Spanish in the knowledge that his personal assistant and translator will easily follow. ‘But I cried in the sense that it was liberating. I felt freer. more in contact with things. and I found myself really tempted by sobriety. by austerity. which made a real change in terms of the narration of the movie.

'l already did a movie about an abandoned woman. but in a sort of screwball stereotype style which was Women On The Verge -— but now it was time for my ‘Bergman‘. if I can say that. I just really love this subject: in fact I'd really like to make a Dekalog of abandoned women stories. because there are a thousand ways of abandoning someone and of being abandoned.‘

lf Carmen Maura gave the performance of a lifetime in Women ()1: The Verge. then the same can certainly be said for Marisa Paredes in Flower Of My Secret. She plays a

‘All the people who loved my earlier tilms, because they dealt with drugs and homosexuality and all these crazy things,

now regard me as some sort of traitor. They projected all their dirty fantasies into my movies.‘

fortysomething writer of popular romantic fiction who hits a point of near-breakdown when her aloof husband comes home and makes his rejection of her known. Meanwhile. she‘s trying to expand her literary horizons by pretending to be someone else so that a heavyweight daily paper might take her on as a book reviewer. Something clearly has to give. and Paredes (the fading chanteuse in High Heels) is absolutely spot-on in drawing us into this woman‘s understandable pain and anxiety.

The biggest surprise in all this. apart from the fact that Almodovar. of all people. has made a

Palma d’or

The most recognisable of the Almodovar regulars, Rossy de Palma talks to Fiona Reid.

Rossy de Palma is not a figure you‘d miss in the crowds: slim and statuesque with raven hair brushing her back and a face of impossible geometry big eyes, high cheekbones and a nose which guarantees she‘ll never be caught playing the girl next door. But it‘s not her striking looks you first notice or her relaxed friendliness, but the words. Spilling forth in a gush of broken English. Boy, can she talk.

De Palma recently left her homeland of Spain and adopted city of Madrid for a new single life at 30 after splitting from her partner of nine years, tnoving to America, she says. to improve her English and just to live. Before that. however, she made her fifth collaboration with long-time confidante Pedro Almodovar in The Flower Of My Secret. De Palma plays Rosa, sister to Marisa Paredes’s distraught writer. who lives in a traditional Spanish village with her mother. It’s a small role. but one who’s physical incarnation is sure to surprise. '

The Flower at My Secret: “Almodévar's most simple, unadorned and touching movie to date"

film of real insight into the essential solitariness of human experience and the deep need to belong. is the important theme of reconciliation with home and family. The film-maker. who returned to his native La Mancha for the first time in decades when he went to scout the locations. is unashamed in admitting how much the whole thing affected him.

‘There were very deep emotions.‘ he sighs. ‘lt surprised me that something so simple as photographing the earth where you were born can touch you so much. In some ways all the films l‘ve made are in reaction against the values and attitudes of La Mancha. but whether I like it or not. this is still where I came from. You’re born in a family. even if you hate them.

‘When I read the script, I said. “Thank God Pedro is interested in women",‘ she recalls. ‘ln a very few scenes you can imagine Rosa’s whole life. I know several women like that, like my mother. who care about others before themselves. We rehearsed in Pedro’s sister's home with Pedro’s mother on the sofa. He would turn and say. “How would you say this‘?". and she would tell him and it would be in the scene.’

Rosa Elena Garcia de Palma moved from Majorca to Spain at 21 to sing in a nine-piece punk band called Peor impossible (which roughly translates as ‘Couldn‘t Be Worse’). After six years of playing in bars and developing the fashion sense that was to see her later modelling for Gaultier. she met Almodovar. who cast her as a TV interviewer in Law Of Desire. Women On The Verge OfA Nervous Breakdown. ’I‘ie Me Up! Tie Me Down and Kika followed. Now. between films, she writes poetry and designs her own range of glasses and bags.

‘Perhaps it‘s great for an actress to have a face like Victoria Abril,‘ she says; ‘a beautiful but normal face. You can do a lot of things with that face. I can do a lot of things too. but sometimes directors don‘t trust me. I don‘t like having to convince people, so when i’m not in the right place, i go. Now I’m taking time to myself, l’m not always working. I’m learning to say no.’



it‘s still where you belong. That was a very important realisation for me.

‘The heaviest thing, though, is that all the people who loved my earlier films. because they dealt with drugs and homosexuality and all these crazy things, now regard tne as some sort of traitor. They projected all their dirty fantasies into my movies which is well and good because it enriches their vision for them but now they can‘t convert me into the director that represents them. I’m just not that film—maker anymore‘.

The Flower Of My Secret opens at the Cameo, Edinburgh, on Friday 26 January and the Glasgow Film Theatre on Friday 2 January.

n3“ do Palm: Almodr iii;

The List 26 Jan-8 Feb I996 11