Carmen Maura and Pedro Almodóvar: Another Split?

Date Added: 10 June 2012
The media are reporting a resumption of an old quarrel

One of the great nights out in my life, was in 1995 when I went to see Pedro Almodóvar give a lecture at the National Film Theatre. I had read that there had been a rift and a reconciliation between himself and one of his most famous "Chicas" Carmen Maura, and before we went into the auditorium, I mischievously asked the girl I took to ask him if he intended working with Carmen Mara.

"Yes, I'll ask him that," said the girl, un uninhibited Australian. The Great Man gave us a consistently entertaining lecture. When it his turn to take questions, he gave a long and similarly lively answer to each one. It was at the end one such answer that he gave to the question concerning Antonio Banderas, which he terminated by declaring "I miss him", that he answered my companion's question.

"Do you miss Carmen Maura?" she asked. "How do you mean "miss"," he asked.

"Well, professionally." His answer was terse. "No I don’t miss her professionally. We did some great work together, but that's in the past."

And that, in contrast to his other ebullient answers, was that.

He was obviously nettled, and – as the lady told me afterwards – he was squinting at the audience to see who was winding him up.

His split with Carmen Maura had happened during Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

They later public patched things up on television, and years later they worked together again in Almodóvar's Volver.

Now the Spanish press seems to be buzzing with the suggestion that the “hatchetmight be disinterred”. As far as I can make out, the order of events is as follows: While promoting her latest film in Madrid, a French film called "The Women on the 6th Floor", Carmen Maura was asked the "inevitable question" of whether she would like to work with Almodóvar again.

Her response was: "I've worked a lot with him, I’ve done some marvelous characters, by I’ve had enough… My next film is with Álex de la Iglesia, whom I adore and with whom I have a much better relationship, and I've done "Volver", which I'm pleased with (now that I've done it), but now I've had enough."

Pedro Almodóvar's brother, and co-producer, said on Twitter "don't trouble yourself, we won't be calling you."

Now various websites are reporting a resumption of the quarrel. And the Spanish version of Microsoft's MSN site is take votes to see whom the Spanish public think is right. (Interestingly when last I looked Carmen Maura seems to be winning.)

As far as I can see, Pedro hasn't made any comment on the matter as yet. Moreover, I remember when seeing Señora Maura in a television interview, describing her time of working with Pedro in "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" as "hell", she managed, by her warm kindly manner, to do so without conveying the impression that she blamed Pedro in particular: a nuance which might have been lost in a verbatim quote of what she said. (Natalia Verbeke with whom she stars in "The Women on the 6th Floor" incidently speaks highly of her, referring to her as Aunt Carmen.)

I’m reminded of divorce proceedings, where the couples are prepared to split amicably, but in order to get a speedy divorce, grievances are looked for and quarrels are created which weren't there before. It would be a pity if in this case a quarrel was created by media manipulation.