The Spaniard Pedro Almodóvar has made more than twenty films in his career and has become a figurehead of European cinema at least since his “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” (1988).

Strongly colored melodramas with intense feelings and full of attention and love for the female characters.

In “Parallel Mothers” two unintentionally pregnant women meet in the hospital, a successful photographer in her forties (Penélope Cruz) and a seventeen-year-old girl (Milena Smit).

The drama of the film, which also leads back to the past of Francoist Spain, develops from the relationship that develops between the two of them.

Mr Almodóvar, what are films for you?

A drug, your passion or your food?

You are my obsession.

I've always wanted to write and direct stories.

Even as a 15-year-old boy from the town of Calatrava in the La Mancha region, it was my big dream.

The older I get now, the more this former passion becomes a compulsive obsession.

As the years have gone by, it has become increasingly clear to me that I don't have forever anymore.

I become aware of my mortality.

I sometimes ask myself: How many films will I be able to finish before I die?

That scares me.

The cinema is everything for me, there is nothing else in my life.

I'm only happy when I'm writing screenplays or making films.

Movies keep me alive.

Another obsession you seem to have is mothers.

I was surrounded by women growing up.

My mother had a very strong character.

We're talking about the 1950s here.

The Spanish women of that era were strong, brave fighters, having survived a terrible war.

My mother's generation, the women from the neighborhood, they all had something special about them: They didn't let the adversities of life get them down.

These women must have inspired me so much as a child that the topic still haunts me to this day.

What is the greatest fascination for you today when it comes to mothers?

To be precise, it is the relationship between mother and child, especially the dynamic between mothers and daughters.

You could make millions of movies out of that stuff.

Has your favorite actress Penélope Cruz changed for you since becoming a mother?

No not true.

It's also difficult for me to judge, because of course I give her completely different roles now than when we were young.

We really do have a great relationship, and she's always been very generous to me.

I'm proud that she hasn't worked with any director as often as she has with me.

The mother figure she plays here is very different from the mother she is in private.

We rehearsed for three months until we got the character where we wanted it.

We always rehearse very extensively, but not so much for the actors as for me.

I feel safer that way.

Why did you keep casting Penélope Cruz?

Penélope always manages to create something magical in front of the camera.

Maybe it has something to do with her looks too.

She has this unique face and the aura of something special.

Her beauty never ceases to amaze me.

I feel downright heterosexual with her.