June 14--"I will say it, I'm so excited," said Josh Welsh, co-president of Film Independent alongside fellow co-president Sean McManus as the duo kicked off the Los Angeles Film Festival on Thursday night introducing the North American premiere of Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar's newest film, "I'm So Excited."
Welsh and McManus introduced the festival's artistic director David Ansen, who added: "I'm not going to say 'I'm so excited,' I'm thrilled. I can't think of another director, really, who in the last 30 years has given us more pure pleasure than this man."
Ansen went on to praise Almodovar for "an incredibly generous heart, a perverse mind, a dirty mind, that we love."
The filmmaker then came out and won over the full-house crowd at downtown's Regal Cinema L.A. Live with witty banter that gave some sense of why he has long been such a darling of the international film festival circuit. Wearing a rather dazzling suit of an indescribeable shade of green, Almodovar first thanked his brother and longtime producer Augustin Almodovar, as "perhaps the most important person in my life and in my career."
Almodovar then noted, "It's a huge privilege to open this festival. You know I don't come very often to this town, but this is the best reason to come here."
"I'm So Excited" is a bawdy comedy set against an era of financial crisis. The action is confined largely to the interior of an in-flight airplane where a trio of male stewards take care of the few passengers in first class while also getting into personal entanglements with the pilot and co-pilot.
Almodovar went on to add, "'I'm So Excited' in Spanish has a double meaning. Excited, it implies always a kind of enthusiasm, but also a sexual arousal. So being excited... means like being horny. And this is something that happens in the movie you are going to see."
He then brought out a trio of his cast members, the actress Blanca Suarez and actors Miguel angel Silvestre and Javier Camara, cheekily noting that all three speak fluent English and would very much like to act in American movies.
Almost but not quite turning serious for a moment, Almodovar said: "We are living in Spain, I don't know about here, but I think everywhere, is in a catastrophic period. But this movie allowed me to turn this catastrophe into a party. A party to which you are invited."
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