Banderas Shows New Film at Berlin Fest

The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 13, 2007; 10:14 AM

BERLIN -- Antonio Banderas returned to the southern Spain of his youth and found things much improved for "Summer Rain," his second film as a director.

"Summer Rain" is a coming-of-age tale set in Malaga in the late 1970s as Spain emerged from the decades-long dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco.

"The engine of what I have been for good or for bad in my life ... started there when I was 17, 18, 19," Banderas said Monday of his decision to return to Malaga for the Spanish-language movie, which was presented outside the main competition at the Berlin film festival.

The movie, based on a novel by his childhood friend Antonio Soler, follows the lives, loves and dreams of a group of teens growing up in the Mediterranean resort. Stars of the film include Maria Ruiz and Alberto Amarilla.

Banderas, 46, recalled being laughed at for wanting to be an actor. The '70s were, he said, "years in which they actually didn't allow me to dream _ not only in a political context but in my family, even my friends."

"What I remember being in Malaga at the time, very strongly, was the complex of inferiority that we had," he said.

Banderas, who has starred in movies such as "Desperado" and "The Mask of Zorro," also directed 1999's "Crazy in Alabama."

He got his start with director Pedro Almodovar in Spanish-language hits such as "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" and "Law of Desire."

"When I arrived in Madrid in 1979, there was practically no work," he said. "Almodovar came along and changed literally the history of motion pictures in Spain _ Pedro Almodovar opened the door, many people got through that door."

Banderas said he's increasingly interested in directing, and would like his next film to be one that he also writes.

However, "I really have no reason to give up" acting, he said.


On the Net:

Berlin Film Festival:

© 2007 The Associated Press