- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

MADRID (AP) - Spanish director Pedro Almodovar unveiled a new film rich in the staples of a career that has earned him two Oscars: romance, sex, drama and lots of humor. But this time he’s added a nod to his passion for moviemaking itself.

“Los Abrazos Rotos,” or Broken Embraces, is about a writer and director telling the story of an accident that left him blind 14 years earlier and a torrid relationship with an actress with whom he was filming.

That character _ played by recent Oscar-winner Penelope Cruz _ becomes the center of a love triangle involving the director and a rich businessman, who is equally obsessed with her.

With hints of thriller-style cinema thrown in, Almodovar’s film alludes to his own earlier movies those of directors he admires, such as Roberto Rossellini.

“It is a romantic movie, with intertwined stories of love. But underlying them all is my love for cinema,” Almodovar said Friday after a press screening.

The movie opens next week in Spain. No date has been set for its release overseas.

“It is a profession of love for cinema,” Almodovar told a packed news conference at which he was flanked by Cruz and other cast members.

For Cruz it was her first public appearance in her native Spain since she won an Oscar last month for best supporting actress for her portrayal of an artist’s erratic ex-wife in the Woody Allen movie “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

Cruz, who lives in California, said “the Oscar has come with me to Spain, and I am going to leave it here. For now, I have no idea what this award is going to mean for me.”

Almodovar tried to help her get an idea. In 2000, he won the Oscar for best foreign film for “All About My Mother,” and he earned Hollywood’s best-original-screenplay honor in 2003 for “Talk to Her.”

He said: “The Oscar is the only prize that is treated like a living thing. People and friends call you to come over and meet it.”

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