For various reasons, I’ve had to watch a lot of Almodóvar movies recently, particularly the early, funny ones. And, Jesus, let me tell you, there is a collapse in quality over the course of that career that on one level makes me very sad. I agree with the people who are close to me that All About My Mother is probably his best movie, but even that shows the roots of what over the past twenty years (by 2020, Almodóvar will have been releasing movies for forty years, which is maybe part of the problem) has hardened into mannerism and an absolute privileging of sheen over substance. Or maybe I don’t really mean that, because the sheen has always been the attraction of his movies, but the early movies, which were about the sheen in some ways, or certainly had the actors engaging with the sheen, are infinitely more palatable than the later ones, in which the obsession with surfaces and the look of the thing has eaten into the spaces where the actors were previously allowed to play. Also, he’s working with different, sheenier actors more often now, and I’d swap Elena Anaya for Chus Lampreave any day. No disrespect, but sometimes you just have to bow before genius.