Almodovar revenge thriller a hit at Cannes
Spain's Pedro Almodovar unveiled at Cannes on Thursday "The Skin I Live In" starring Antonio Banderas as a surgeon who takes a perverse form of revenge on the man he believes raped his daughter.
Almodovar's picture, one of 20 contenders for the festival's coveted Palme d'Or to be awarded Sunday by jury president Robert De Niro, garnered a long round of applause at a press preview.
It reunites Almodovar and Banderas for the first time since 1990's "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!", a pitch-black comedy which launched their international careers.
Now a Hollywood star, the 50-year-old Banderas said he had longed to return to Spanish film-making, if only temporarily.
"Coming back to Pedro Almodovar is a form of recognition, of gratitude because he occupies a special place in my life. He gave me my artistic education," he told reporters.
"Almodovar was the beginning of my film career and coming back is a kind of homecoming -- coming back to my own roots, my own country, with all its strong points and weak points and contradictions."
The film features Banderas as a kind of mad scientist living in Toledo with an older woman, apparently his housekeeper, and a younger woman kept captive in his villa and monitored round the clock on camera.
She wears a skin-coloured suit and it gradually emerges that she is a Frankenstein-like creation by the doctor, who has used genetic engineering to recreate a mirror image of his dead wife.
But to build a new spouse, he required a human specimen to transform so he kidnapped a man he believes raped his teenage daughter years before at a wedding, driving her to suicide.
Almodovar, 61, bringing his fourth feature to Cannes, said he was ready for a new genre after melodramas such as "Broken Embraces" starring his frequent muse Penelope Cruz.
"I'm currently in a thriller time of my life," he said.
"But in a thriller you can touch on all kinds of other genres. I don't think you have stick rigidly to the rules of a genre. But thrillers are indeed my favorite kind of film right now and I'll probably make more."
© 2011 AFP