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Madrid's flourishing alternative cultural scene became the perfect scenario for Almodóvar's social talents.
He was a crucial figure in La Movida Madrileña (the Madrilenian Movement), a cultural renaissance that followed the death of dictator Francisco Franco.
In 1997, Almodóvar received the French Legion of Honour, followed by the Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts by the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1999.
He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 To support himself, Almodóvar had a number of jobs, including selling used items in the famous Madrid flea market El Rastro and as an administrative assistant with Spanish phone company Telefónica, where he worked for twelve years.
In 1986, he established his own film production company, El Deseo, with his younger brother Agustín Almodóvar, responsible for producing all of his films since Law of Desire (1987).
Almodóvar achieved international recognition for his black comedy-drama film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and went on to more success with the dark romantic comedy film Tie Me Up! (1990), the melodrama High Heels (1991) and the romantic drama thriller Live Flesh (1997).
Inspired by La Movida Madrileña, Pepi, Luci, Bom expressed the sense of cultural and sexual freedom of the time with its many kitsch elements, campy style, outrageous humour and explicit sexuality (there is a golden shower scene in the middle of a knitting lesson).
The film was noted for its lack of polished filming technique, but Almodóvar looked back fondly on the film's flaws.
The film was based on a comic strip titled General Erections that he had written and revolves around the unlikely friendship between Pepi (Carmen Maura), who wants revenge on a corrupt policeman who raped her, a masochistic housewife named Luci (Eva Siva), and Bom (Alaska), a lesbian punk rock singer.
His films are marked by his employment of certain actors and creative personnel, complex narratives, melodrama, pop culture, popular songs, irreverent humour, strong colours, and glossy décor.
Desire, passion, family, and identity are among Almodóvar's most prevalent themes.
Alongside Fabio Mc Namara, Almodóvar sang in a glam rock parody duo.
Writing under the pseudonym Patty Diphusa, Almodóvar also penned various articles for major newspapers and magazines, such as El País, Diario 16 and La Luna as well as contributing to comic strips, articles and stories in counterculture magazines, such as Star, El Víbora and Vibraciones.