In the early seventies, Almodóvar grew interested in experimental cinema and theatre. He collaborated with the vanguard theatrical group, The Romantics (Spanish: Los Goliardos). Around 1972, Almodóvar began making his first short films on his Super 8 camera, and by the end of the seventies, he was also writing comics and contributing articles and stories to a number of countercultural magazines, such as Star and Vipers and Vibrations.
Almodóvar was a crucial figure in the Madrilene Movement (Spanish: La Movida Madrileña), a cultural renaissance that followed the fall of the Francisco Franco dictatorship. In addition to his cinematic work, Almodóvar sang alongside Fabio McNamara in a punk-glam-rock parody duo, published a novella, “Fire in the Guts” (Spanish: Fuego en las entrañas), and, writing under the pseudonym "Patty Difusa" penned various articles for major newspapers and magazines, such as El País, Diario 16 and La Luna.
Almodóvar's films, similar in aesthetic style and technique to those of the Spanish director Eloy de la Iglesia, cultivate a naturalism that deconstructs the depiction of middle-class values, typical of Spanish cinema. His films tend to deal with the marginal existence of the urban underclass and are full of scandalous and provocative elements, such as corrupt cops, drug consumption, prostitution, maltreatment, precocious kids, homosexuality, desperate housewives and philosophical country hicks. All this is combined with strong irreverent humour that often include explicit scenes of a sexual nature, as the golden shower scene of his first 35mm film, Pepi, Luci, Bom and Other Woman on the Heap," attests.
Just like the surrealists, the occasional scandalous scene of bad taste is usually incorporated into Almodóvar's movies in order to perturb the morally haughty bourgeoisie and stilted intellectuals that feel they are above such unbecoming behaviour. Nonetheless, with the passage of time, Almodóvar has developed a more sophisticated and colourful sense of drama, closer to the classic melodramatic style of Douglas Sirk, and continues to improve his scriptwriting to the point where he has become a master of rhythm and structure. This progress was clearly evident in his breakout film of 1984, What Have I Done to Deserve This? (Spanish: ¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto?), which again featured one of his favoured actresses in Carmen Maura.
1997s Live Flesh (Carne Tremula) showcased an altogether new calibre of filmmaking which has placed Almodóvar among the elite of world cinema. All about my Mother (Todo Sobre mi Madre), Talk to Her (Hable con ella), and Bad Education (Mala Educación) all garnered high critical acclaim, including an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for All About My Mother.