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'We need art to live': Antonio Banderas on relating to his character in Pain and Glory

Before he was Zorro or Puss in Boots, Antonio Banderas was the go-to male lead for Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar. The new film Pain and Glory is their eighth film together and one that made unique demands on Banderas.
Antonio Banderas sat down with q's Tom Power at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)

Antonio Banderas has had a memorable career in Hollywood, but before he was Zorro or Puss in Boots, he was part of a historic moment in Spain. 

In the early 1980s, the country experienced an explosion of artistic expression after a decades-long political dictatorship under Francisco Franco had ended. One of the stars of this movement was the filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar. One of his favourite actors was a young Banderas.

Now, for the first time in years, Banderas has reunited with Almodóvar for their eighth film together, Pain and Glory. It's about a film director in his physical decline who feels that he has no reason to live without his art. The character is loosely based on Almodóvar himself.

WATCH | Antonio Banderas's full interview with q host Tom Power:

The actor joined q's Tom Power at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival to talk about working with his long-time friend and collaborator, and why he finds his character in Pain and Glory so relatable.

"I wouldn't understand a life without art," said Banderas. "Could you understand a life without music? Without looking at paintings, movies or theatre? ... It's like food. We need art to live because it's a reflection of ourselves."

Pain and Glory hits theatres on Friday, Oct. 25.


— Produced by ​Vanessa Greco

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