Continuing their series of Archive books Tashcen’s look at the work of Pedro Almodovar is an essential purchase for followers of the Spanish director, featuring a candid look behind the scenes of his films and his life.

Taking its journey through each of Almodovar’s films one by one, with contemporary notes and essays from writers and critics as well as interviews and recollections from the director himself, a picture emerges of a man whose reaction to religious ether of his country and the exciting, burgeoning counterculture is given fine form in the films he makes and the stories he tells.

The characters change and warp, identities shift and are transferred and explosions of love and colour permeate his work and are all addressed sincerely in this book. Having Almodovar’s voice is crucial to the allure of this book. He speaks openly, eloquently and bluntly about the trials with censorship, the national identity and, above all else, love. Gustavo Martin Garzo’s wonderful essay Paradise Regained, concerning Tie Me up! Tie Me Down!, calls Almodovar’s view of love as “a strange little island, as a secret garden” and it is this illumination which makes the book a joy.

As is usual with the Taschen Archive series the collection of stills and behind the scenes images is unparalleled. Accompanying the director’s telling of what he calls ‘Monologue Night’ from the Volver shoot there are two production stills of Penélope Cruz as Raimunda and Carmen Maura as Irene mid-scene. The following page is a massive picture from moments immediately following the director’s calling cut with both actresses visibly moved by the scene which has just taken place.

It’s something we were never meant to see, but for those who know that scene, and have felt the intense emotion behind it, it is a wonderful addition, not exactly lifting the curtain but giving us enough of a peek so as not to break the spell but rather to add another facet to the work.

I do not know every one of Almodovar’s films. I know enough of his work to count him amongst one of the essential directors of the day. Unique, curious, colourful, unabashed and delightfully bold, his work is worthy of closer examination. The Pedro Almodovar Archive is the most perfect book to do that. knowledgeable, beautiful and excellently edited by Paul Duncan with Bárbara Peiró, it’s a costly affair but if you love Almodovar’s work you will cherish this book.

London Signing Details

Almodovar will be in London this weekend to sign copies of this book. The event takes place on Saturday, the 17th of November between 6:00 and 7:00 pm and only a limited number of copies will be available. (Copies can be secured by ringing +44 20 7881 0795 or emailing

The event will be held at: TASCHEN Store London, 12 Duke of York Square, London SW3 4LY