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Pedro Almodóvar
Courtesy of Sony Picture Classics

Pedro Almodóvar shares his isolation films and talks sex in a new essay

‘My libido has abandoned me since the isolation started. I suppose that sadness and worry have displaced erotic fantasies’

With much of the world on lockdown due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a huge number of people are finding themselves pretty sexually frustrated. But just because there’s been a spike in sex toy sales and virtual sex parties doesn’t mean that everyone’s feeling it.

In a recent essay, which was published by IndieWire and translated by Mar Diestro-Dópido, Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar has opened up about the effects of lockdown on his sexual desire. “My libido has abandoned me since the isolation started. I suppose that sadness and worry have displaced erotic fantasies,” said the director, whose film Pain and Glory was nominated for two Oscars earlier this year.

After reading an article about sexual behaviour during the pandemic, Almodóvar “called a number of friends, male and female, in order to check on the state of their sexual appetites”.

“Apart from one who was desperate and told me he’d arranged online to meet with different people in supermarkets for a fuck in the toilets, in general the pandemic and its resulting isolation has reduced the erotic needs of the majority of people I phoned,” he reported.

The filmmaker also recommended a list of (erotically-charged) films that he’s been watching during the pandemic, including Richard Quine’s melodramatic Strangers When We Meet about an extramarital affair; Neil Jordan’s The End of the Affair, featuring Ralph Fiennes as a struggling ex-lover; Otto Prminger’s Bonjour Tristesse, starring a young, pre-Godard Jean Seberg; and Max Ophüls’s Letter from an Unknown Woman, which he describes as “the epitome of romantic cinema”.

There’s also Louis Malle’s Lift to the Scaffold, Antonioni’s La Notte, Fellini’s I Vitelloni, François Truffaut’s The Soft Skin, and Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place.

Read the letter in full here.